June 21, 2017
In this essay, I consider the ways in which the visual representations of four contemporary black queer diaspora artists – Nicholas Hlobo (South Africa), Zanele Muholi (South Africa), James Chuchu (Kenya), and Adejoke Tugbiyele (American-born Nigerian) – constitute, reflect, and challenge the porous intersectionality associated with the concepts ‘black,’ ‘queer,’ and ‘diaspora.’ The essay foregrounds the inter- and trans-cultural processes of visuality in highlighting the shifting terrains of black (African) and queer diasporic concerns that reside and circulate in physical and ideological spaces beyond the Anglo- and US-centric ones. As well, what follows offers the potential for opening up new horizons and nuanced significations within and beyond these categories. The investigation begins broadly by first exploring the slipperiness of the notions ‘black,’ ‘queer,’ and ‘diaspora,’ and then examines selected forms of visual representation that both sustain and disrupt the intersecting dimensions of these ideas. The essay takes interest in envisioning a diasporic future that liberates black queer lives and imagination.