Untitled Derivative

Untitled derivative of Mshoga Mpya, or the New Homosexual (2014)

This performance is a one-on-one performance set to auto-ethnographic songs sung by Alex Mawimbi. Mawimbi sings to melodies written by pop musicians, Cher, Emeli Sande and Tracy Chapman, with her own lyrics. Each audience member listens to songs on headphones, one at a time, as Mawimbi performs on a plastic map. The map Mawimbi sits on is the textual representation of queer spaces in Nairobi, Kenya. Mawimbi paints her face repeatedly with the now universal symbol for the LGBTI movement; the rainbow flag. This repetition upon the representation of Nairobi’s queer space begs the questions, is an African woman who has same-sex desires in Kenya automatically identifiable with the word “lesbian” or with the international LGBTIQ community? What is it to be queer and/or LGBT or I in Kenya? Identification remains a central issue. After some time the performance expands to a group performance involving all the audience members present and becomes a performance of reading, writing and sharing stories.