Documentary / Photography / Art

A visual celebration of the LGBTQI+ community throughout Africa

Denisse Ariana Perez travelled through the continent capturing intimate depictions of queer Africa.

It’s no secret that in the past homosexuality and queer culture has not been freely accepted across Africa. But of course, it still deserves celebration and this is exactly what photographer Denisse Ariana Perez set out to do in her new photo series, Q&A – Q for Queer, A for Africa. Shot from November 2018 to January 2019, the series portrays the beauty and intimacy in African queer culture. “My main purpose with this series was not to portray African queer people in a victimised or somber light like they usually are portrayed in most media,” says Perez. “Instead, I wanted to celebrate and empower them through portraits that were more artistic, abstract and intimate. I’ve consciously taken on a personal mission to use photography and storytelling to highlight the beauty of Afro-communities and other marginalised groups that I feel inspired by and connected to across the world.”

For the first part of this series, I visited three countries in East Africa – Kenya, Rwanda and Tanzania. It is no secret that homosexuality is a highly controversial subject in most of the African continent, but I was lucky enough to encounter some young queer voices who were not afraid to expose their faces in public and who craved to be celebrated and form part of this series.”

“As Angola welcomes 2019 by officially decriminalising gay sex and Kenya is soon to vote on the matter this coming May and Rwanda boasts its first LGBTQI+ inclusive Christian church I feel this is a great time to inspire through art, not only through politics, the inclusiveness of queerness.”

In order to protect the identities of the subjects featured in this series I will keep their names anonymous. However, these are the LGBTQI + organiSations they form part of and who helped me in the making of the series either by talent scouting, networking and by being in front of the camera themselves. Rainbow Women – RWOK. Mombasa, Kenya. Eagle Wings. Dar es Salaam, Tanzania. Hope and Care. Kigali, Rwanda. Special thank you to Lucrecia Taormina @JSR agency 

11 March 2019