Ziyanda Daniel, Buitenkant Street, Gardens, Cape Town, 2011

Ziyanda Daniel, Buitenkant Street, Gardens, Cape Town, 2011 – a work by Zanele Muholi

A groundbreaking art exhibition about LGBTI Africans is stirring controversy in its host country Senegal, where homosexuality is illegal.

The exhibition, Precarious Imaging: Visibility and Media Surrounding African Queerness, is set to take place from 11 May in Dakar, as part of the informal programme for Dak’Art 2014, the 11th Biennale of Contemporary African Art.

Curator Ato Malinda told The Art Newspaper that he had been advised against holding the exhibition.

“The show will cause controversy, but we will not censor ourselves,” he said.

The exhibition will include work by acclaimed South African lesbian activist photographer Zanele Muholi documenting the lives of black lesbian women.

“In a lot of these images the women are recognisable; they might be our daughters or the girl next door. It is important that people see these women in this light,” said Malinda about Muholi’s work.

Gay-themed art by Nigerian photographer Andrew Esiebo, Kenya’s Jim Chuchu and French-Algerian artist Kader Attia will also feature in the show.

“The time is ripe to talk about homosexuality in Africa,” Malinda said. “In some countries like Uganda the change is happening for the worse, but in some, like Kenya, it is changing for the better.”

Homosexuality is illegal in Senegal under article 319 of the penal code, which criminalises “improper or unnatural” acts with penalties of up to five years in prison.

Despite the country claiming that the law is not used to discriminate against gays and lesbians, it has recently been used to do just that.

In February, two men were sentenced to six months in jail on charges of homosexuality.

In November last year, five women were arrested in a Dakar bar on charges of lesbianism. They were later released due to lack of evidence.

Get the Mamba Newsletter

Latest Comments
  1. Paul
    Reply -

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Send this to a friend