After being told that, “As a Mutoro woman, you can never say no to a man,” a group of East African feminists decided to collaborate on a visual art project to inspire women to challenge oppressive traditional values and spark conversations about patriarchy. The Bantu Project, as the series of photographs are called, is a collaboration between @deloviephotography, a photographer working with women and children and helping express women’s oppression, @kakyoproject, a queer and feminist creative business in Nairobi, and @okuki, a Kampala based collective using arts to empower women. It has a number of aims: “To show black women empowering fellow black women”, “to discredit normalised patriarchal customs”, “to offer relatable powerful mantras” and also “to inspire women to use the visual arts for dialogue”. The word “Bantu” translates to “people” in many African languages. When I received the Bantu Project in my inbox, I was instantly stimulated by the images and knew that I wanted to share them on MsAfropolitan. What especially speaks to me is the juxtaposition of a feminised style of photography that one might associate with romantic postcolonial poetry about the African woman, with provocative, radical feminist and socially critical words and slogans, reminiscent of the in-your-face boldness of Barbara Kruger.
I hope that you enjoy them as much as I do. Below is a selection of my favourite seven images from the Bantu Project, to view more, contact @kakyoproject or @deloviephotography on instagram.
All images published with permission.