We love this African mermaid Pride Month photoshoot


Johannesburg queer artist Baba Ganoosh and friends recently took to the waves for a mermaid-themed collaborative photoshoot to celebrate Pride Month.

Baba describes themselves as “an international drag superstar, makeup artist, performance artist, MC, stylist, adult entertainer…” adding, tongue in cheek, “do you want me to continue?”

The photoshoot emerged out of a need for both self-care and self-expression. “Joburg can be really draining for a creative. I found myself in a cycle of overworking and constantly neglecting what I truly stand for as a queen which is bringing our queer community together,” says Baba.

The mermaids concept was inspired by a friend asking them to go on holiday with her to a lodge in Gqeberha, 300 meters away from the beach in Summerstrand.

“We got to our room a bit early and decided to wait at the beach. We were blessed to witness a sangoma doing a ritual in the ocean and at that point, I realised that Gqeberha is not only a beautiful area but also extraordinarily rich in spirituality.”

Over the weekend, Baba and friends, including The Queer Cook, discussed and planned concepts that came to fruition on Monday 7 June. The result was a joyful and defiant body-positive celebration of queerness in a public space, captured by photographer noir.snow.

“The concept of the shoot is African Mermaids. Mermaids are seen as the lurers of sailors that cause destruction and turmoil, yet in some cultures, they represent life and fertility within the ocean. As the mother of the Hause of Ganoosh I try to help queer souls find themselves and boy did we find ourselves in this shoot,” says Baba.

“When we got back to the hotel room and viewed the images, we were all super emotional and in awe of what we had created. We never thought a bunch of queers and a camera would end in creating such a strong and conceptual body of art.”

Baba hopes that the pictures will “inspire the next generation of queers to embrace their bodies, minds, and souls to the fullest and to always remember that they are loved and worthy of everything that society takes away from them!”

Photographer: @noir.snow
Model yellow face: Mbulelo
Model green face: Baba Ganoosh
Model blue face: Yolanda Halana
Model: Lusi Mahote
Model: Visisa Jafta
Shoot director: @purplejellybaby_

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