Homosexual rage and desire brought to life

2014-03-02 14:00

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

A year before his death in 1989, Nigerian-born photographer Rotimi Fani-Kayode wrote: “I seek to translate my rage and my desire into new images which will undermine conventional perceptions.”

Now some of those images, interrogating black male sexuality and colonialism, can be viewed for the first time on African soil.

The exhibition is being showcased at the Iziko South African ­National Gallery in Cape Town, where signs warn visitors of its “adult content” – it includes gold-painted phalluses and male genitals draped in grapes.

Gallery director Riason Naidoo points out that the exhibition is particularly pertinent in light of recent homophobic incidents in African countries.

Uganda’s President Yoweri Museveni signed off on strict anti-gay legislation on Monday, ­inciting criticism from around the world. ­According to the new laws, people can be jailed for life if they are caught engaged in “homo­sexual acts”.

The openly gay Fani-Kayode was born into a prominent Yoruba family in Lagos in April 1955. His family fled to England because of a military coup when he was 12.

At the exhibition, Fani-Kayode’s voice comes to life through excerpts from his 1988 essay, Rage and Desire, which is ­displayed against a gallery wall.

“It has been my destiny to end up as an artist with a sexual taste for ­other young men,” he wrote.

He explains that in extreme ­alienation, he found the courage to challenge the anti-gay conventions of his culture because he had nothing to lose.

“On three counts I am an outsider: In matters of sexuality; in terms of ­geographical and cultural dislocation; and in the sense of not having become the sort of respectably married professional my parents might have hoped for,” he wrote.

“Such a position gives me a feeling of having very little to lose. It produces a sense of personal freedom from the hegemony of convention.

“As for Africa itself, if I ever managed to get an exhibition in, say, Lagos, I suspect riots would break out.”

Iziko borrowed the exhibition, called Traces of Ecstasy, from Yinka Shonibare, a British­Nigerian artist living in London.

.?The exhibition will run until May 15

Join the conversation!

24.com encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
Comments have been closed for this article.

Inside News24


Book flights

Compare, Book, Fly

Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.


Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.


Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.