Awuor Onyango

Awuor Onyango

Location: Kenya

Awuor Onyango is a Nairobi-based writer, artist, photographer, filmmaker and gallerist. Her practice is concerned with claiming public space disallowed to people considered black, woman and other, whether the space is intellectual, physical, in memory or Historical.


Deconstructing Eve (2014)

The women, in returning to the Kenyan space I have superimposed them on, pose an
invitation to rethink/reconstruct/reimagine the narrative silence of Kenyan/African history where women were involved. A silence used as its own proof of their lack of involvement outside the socio-cultural purvey of "women's issues" as dictated by cultural nationalism. The narrative so far starts from a romanticized version of the African as
provided for by Franz Fanon, leading into the African woman as the wise and all-knowing as narrated by Ishmael Beah before the African woman as other (W.e.B DuBois), as taboo (Okot p'Bitek) and as dead (Chinua Achebe) lead to the stirring
postcolonial cries for what has been lost via Ijuoma Imebinyuo, Yvonne Adhiambo Owuor
and Okot p'Bitek, finally making way to the cultural nationalism that dictates what history was without taking into account the African woman's role in it via Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie and No Violet Bulawayo, ending with a reflection from Albert Camus on rebellion and society.

The Priestess “The Priestess ”

A postage stamp, a quote from Okot p'Bitek and a photograph I took of the peace gardens in Birmingham England

Delete Her Culture “Delete Her Culture ”

Franz Fanon, Scarification marks composite

Ennoia “Ennoia”

Stamp and Composite

Ennoia B&W “Ennoia B&W”

Stamp, Composite and Chinua Achebe quote

Sky Godess B&W “Sky Godess B&W”

Ishamel Beah quote and composite

Sky Godess “Sky Godess ”

Ishamel Beah quote and composite

Beauty and The Beast “Beauty and The Beast”

W. E.B Dubois quote and comopiste

Visibility is a Trap (2017)

“Homosexuality appeared as one of the forms of sexuality when it was transposed from the practice of sodomy onto a kind of interior androgyny, a hermaphrodism of the soul. The sodomite had been a temporary aberration; the homosexual was now a species”
― Michel Foucault, The History of Sexuality

I was interested in intimacy outside of the sexual act,outside of the sexual and erotic, intimacy as the opposite of loneliness, a communal intimacy of sorts. I ventured to create something around Foucault’s interior androgyny and hermaphrodism of the soul, that which created the homosexual out of the sodomite, a kind of Kenyan queer semiology. This led me to explore what drag meant to Jamie and what psychological androgyny meant to Naddya while waxing my favourite queers, Frida Kahlo, Rotimi Fani-Kayode, Audre Lourde…
The fractal mirror denotes my nod to Foucault’s “Visibility is a trap” which is ultimately the name of the project. While being obsessed with how Nairobi queers navigate Nairobi in this space of being seen only as far as heteronormatively allowed I wanted to celebrate the space we have to reinvent ourselves within our own circles. That’s why the images are named after discarded names that my friends and I no longer use.