rotimi fani kayode

Both aesthetically and ethically, I seek to translate my rage and my desire into new images which will undermine conventional perceptions and which may reveal hidden worlds. Many of the images are seen as sexually explicit - or more precisely, homosexually explicit. I make my pictures homosexual on purpose. Black men from the Third World have not previously revealed either to their own peoples or to the West a certain shocking fact: they can desire each other.
—  Rotimi Fani-Kayode
It is no surprise to find that one’s work is shunned or actively discouraged by the Establishment. The homosexual bourgeoisie has been more supportive – not because it is especially noted for its championing of Black artists, but because Black ass sells almost as well as Black dick. As a result of homosexual interest, I have had various portfolios printed in the gay press and in February a book of nudes will be published by GMP. Also, there has been some attention given to my erotic work by the sort of straight galleries which receive funding from more progressive local authorities. But in the main, both galleries and press have felt safer with my ‘ethnic’ work. Occasionally they will take on board some of the less-overtly threatening and outrageous pictures – in the classic liberal tradition. But Black is still only beautiful as long as it keeps within white frames of reference.
—  Rotimi Fani Kayode, ‘Traces of Ecstasy,’ 1988
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“From the fertility objects of antiquity to the body art of artists like Rotimi Fani-Kayode and Ana Mendieta, bodies have been a source of inspiration and dialogue. 

The human body has always been a point of contention in political dialogue throughout the centuries. In art, bodies bring up conflicting thoughts of power, expression, trauma, and empowerment.

Today, artists use their own body in self-portraiture, performance, and dance exploring all kinds of themes, from sexuality and health to belonging, nationality, anatomy, and gender.”


                                                         —Mason (Digital Media Intern at the Getty)


What does “body” mean to you? Tell us with text, image, or GIF.