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Tabaka Film Project

by Jordan Awori and Mariel Reiss

– Work In Progress – 


Tabaka (Swahili: layers)  film project aims to address the often simplified portrayal of LGBTQ+ identities, especially within non-Western contexts like Kenya, where the narratives are influenced by Western perspectives. The initiative seeks to challenge the dominant narratives that either demonize LGBTQ+ individuals as a Western import or frame them as victims in need of saving. Collaborating with academics and artists personally affected by these contested identities, the project aims to explore the complex layers of being LGBTQ+ in Kenya through the medium of film. The film will be developed collaboratively, starting with the situated perspectives of a White, German, middle-class lesbian academic (M.Reiss) and a Black, Kenyan, middle-class queer interdisciplinary artist (J.Awori). The project intends to capture a diverse range of LGBTQ+ voices in Kenya and the diaspora, including anti-LGBTQ+ perspectives, while contextualizing the multifaceted stories of identities within a historical and critical feminist framework. The goal is to move beyond single-story narratives and represent the richness and complexity of LGBTQ+ experiences in Kenya.

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