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Khuchia Ena? Series

(Part of the ‘Am I African Enough?’ Collection)​

2022, Mixed Media on Paper,  210 x 297 mm
(Khuchia Ana?: ‘Where are we going?’ in Luhya) 

In my personal exploration of what it means to be African, this series of works explores the complex relationship between three fundamental aspects of this identity:

Language: Inspired by my traditional Luhya dialect, a language I unfortunately do not understand, I raise thought-provoking questions about my sense of ‘Africanness’ with the help of translations provided by my mother.

Fashion: In particular, I pay homage to the culturally significant Leso fabric, known for its deep historical roots among the people of East Africa. Reflecting on my time in Kenya, I express a newfound appreciation for this fabric that I had previously overlooked, recognising its profound significance within the African cultural tapestry.

Religion: Embracing the complexity of my identity as a queer African Christian, I portray this intricate interplay through the mesmerizing effect of geometric stained glass. This visual representation captures the intricate layers of my spirituality, revealing the delicate balance between my African heritage, my personal beliefs and the complexities of my identity.

Through this series, I embark on a profound journey of self-discovery, unravelling the multifaceted dimensions of my Africanness through the exploration of language, fashion and religion. It serves as a testament to the ongoing quest to understand and embrace the various facets of my identity within the African context.

The ‘Am I African Enough? ‘ collection is a body of work in which I question my African identity as a born and bred Kenyan currently living in Germany. What is this ‘Africaness’ that I identify with? What makes me truly Kenyan? What makes me African enough?
Khuchia Ena?
Khuchia Ena? (Luhya text: Where are we going?) Image used: Untitled (Agaracha) 1974 by J.D. Okhai Ojeikere-Nigeria) 
Huchia Na Wena?
Huchia Na Wena? (Luhya text: Who are we going with?) Image used: Untitled 1974 by J.D. Okhai Ojeikere-Nigeria) 
Hunola Hutie Eyo?
Hunola Hutie Eyo? (Luhya text: How will we get there?) Image used: Untitled 1971 by J.D. Okhai Ojeikere-Nigeria) 

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