queer visual artist launches ‘bantu project’ to spark conversation and discredit normalized patriarchal customs

July 19, 2018
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Ugandan queer visual artist KAKYO Trinah had a male friend get too handsy with her and justify it by saying “you are mutoro you can’t refuse a man”. KAKYO’s culture is ‘Batoro’ and often women in ‘Batoro’ culture are told “you can never say no to man” which KAKYO was having NONE of. KAKYO dismisses such schools of thought but her concern was for younger girls who have grown up listening to and internalizing such toxic ideals. The ‘Bantu project: WOKE VISUAL APPEAL Africa’ was then created to provoke thought and hopefully change the dialogue around consent and the harmful culture created by patriarchy.

“Basically, it’s Africans motivating our own through a visual art collaboration by women for women to inspire women. This began by soliciting contributions anonymously from African women to the 20photo collective.” – KAKYO Trinah

The project was named ‘Bantu’ because it translates to ‘people’ in a group Niger-Congo languages spoken in Central and Southern Africa. KAKYO wants to create visual art that is fun and relatable to Africans. KAKYO Projects (creative project working with Queer and Feminist talent) solicited translations from anonymous girls in Botswana, Kenya, South Africa and Uganda, translating phrases like “punch a rapist” (werk) and “vagina have a monologue” from Janelle Monáe’s latest release ‘Dirty Computer’.

The project seeks to inspire Black womxn by:
– Showing powerful images of Black womxn that will hopefully go on to inspire and empower other black womxn.
– Discrediting normalized patriarchal customs.
– Offering relatable, powerful mantras like “punch a rapist”, serving as motivational rants against rape culture.
– Inspiring womxn in the visual art world to get motivated.

The project is collaboration brought together by KAKYO Project, working with photographer @Deloviephotography who took the photos and Okuki Women, a Ugandan feminist initiative for modeling. ‘Bantu project’ inspired apparel is coming out soon so keep an eye on KAKYO’s social media. “This is Fashion activism. To have apparel that’s not only beautifully designed but also deeply rooted in meaning to further activism,” says KAKYO. This is the first of many projects under ‘Bantu’ as the collective is just getting started.