Body of Land is an intimate exploration of African diasporic femininities in Scotland and Kenya, featuring Awuor Onyango and Sekai Machache, who collaborated in a residency exchange supported by the British Council’s East Africa Arts programme, produced by Fòcas Scotland and supported by Street Level Photoworks.
Awuor Onyango (b.1990 in Kenya) lives and works in Nairobi, Kenya. A writer, artist, filmmaker and photographer, Onyango is based in the pagan citadel of Nairobi in neo-colonial Kenya. Her practice is concerned with exploring politics of the personal, body and the self as art. Her interests include exploring the black African feminine, the gendered leanings of society, the archetypes and psycho-social role of the queer and various socio-cultural implications of ‘African-ness’. Her aim is to question the colonial, the religious and the ‘globalised’ view of the African as believed by the African, the African diaspora and the colonialist and his kin. Her approach is experimental and often results in mixed media pieces and film and photo-based installations.
Recent exhibitions include ‘School of Anxiety’ at Jo’Burg Art Fair, Johannesburg 2017; ‘Appropriation and other practises’ HBK Braunschweig 2018; ‘A Celebration of Queer Love’ Iwalewa Haus, 2018; ‘Genesis: Autonomous bodies’ at Iwalewa Haus, 2018 In 2018 Awuor undertook a residency through Focas Scotland which was hosted by Street Level Photoworks.
Sekai Machache (b.1989) is based between Dundee and Glasgow, Scotland. Her work is a deep interrogation of the notion of self. Having been born in Zimbabwe and raised in Scotland, she has a particular interest in W.E.B Dubois’ notion of Double Consciousness, which expresses the psychological challenge of having African heritage whilst living in the West.
She is interested in the relationship between spirituality, the imagination and the role of the artist in disseminating symbolic imagery to provide a space for healing. Working in a multi-disciplinary practice, Sekai utilises a wide range of media including but not exclusive to photography. Her photographic practice is formulated through digital studio based compositions utilising body paint and muted lighting conditions to create images that appear to emerge from darkness
Sekai is a founding and organising member of the Yon Afro Collective.
Banner Image: From the series ‘Ritual Manifestations’ © Sekai Machache
Left: From the series ‘Memoritual’ © Awuor Onyango