Saturday, 3 December 2022

Black Drag Magic. By Lee-Ann Olwage.

In her series "Black Drag Magic", photographer Lee-Ann Olwage focuses on the intersection of gender identity and the South African context, a "beautiful and unique place", as she says, with "a complex and diverse nation who are still in the beginning of finding and celebrating our identity". In 1996, discrimination in terms of sexual orientation was outlawed. Dangers, however, are still persisting today (via).

Above: Professional drag performer Belinda Qaqamba Ka-Fassie came up with the idea for this series in collaboration with photographer Lee-Ann Olwage. “My performances are inspired by the human condition, or rather the ‘black queer condition,'” Ka-Fassie says. (literally via)
My most recent work, #blackdragmagic, tells the stories of Black queer, gender-nonconforming and trans people who grew up and live in the townships of Cape Town. The project is about augmenting the power of daily township-spatial navigation, migration, culture, gender and sexual identity. I wanted the project to serve as a platform for Black queer bodies where they were invited to co-create images that told their stories in a way that is affirming and celebratory. 
We shot in Khayelitsha, a partially informal township in Western Cape, South Africa, located on the Cape Flats. While the township is their home, it is also a place where they are subjected to harassment, violence and discrimination on a daily basis. The process of creating the project became a radical, progressive act to reclaim the township and to stand up against the overwhelming climate of discrimination Black queer people face.
Above: Mthulic Vee Vuma poses wearing traditional Xhosa female clothing and holding a beaded stick used in marriage ceremonies. “The meaning of the clothing I am wearing is to love and accept our culture,” Vuma says. (literally via)
[It] takes a deeper look at how gender and sexual identity are influenced by cultural identity in South Africa,” she says. “They cannot be separated from each other yet, in South Africa, cultural identity often denies that queer identity exists.
Above: Mthulic Vee Vuma poses in traditional Xhosa clothing at the *tshisanyama* meat market. (literally via)

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photographs via