Art Project to Donate Funds to East African LGBTI Rights Organisations
By George Barasa
Kenyan LGBT activist Wangeshi Mutu has taken her fight for equality a step further by setting up an organization that seeks to create public awareness and sensitization about LGBT Rights through art.
Ms Wangeshi conceived the dream to establish Africa’s Out! after acclaimed writer Binyavanga Wainaina publicly came out in 2014 and the organization which is based in USA will use the works of international artists to raise funds that will be donated to several LGBTI organizations in East Africa.
By the beginning of June this year, Africa’s Out! had held a series of benefit art events including one at Gladstone Gallery in New York where celebrated singer Solange Knowles performed to benefit this noble cause.
In the past it has been noted that artists that come out of the closet have been victims of online bullying and some have been known to become either suicidal or clinically depressed.
However, contemporary artist Wangeshi has not shied away from her support of LGBTI equality rights and her latest move to use the art world to support the struggle has been widely welcomed by the East African LGBTI community.
“We have a replica of Africa’s Out! in Kenya by the name Afra-Kenya but having one away from home could only mean one thing; more voices to be heard, more ears to hear, and more eyes to see the work of Kenyan Activists and the impact it is has not only in our country but to the rest of the continent and the world at large,” Wangeshi retorted on being asked about her new project.
Wangeshi also said one of the project’s main objectives is to raise awareness of the obstacles facing the LGBT community in East Africa and to address the dangerous anti-gay rhetoric by religious leaders as well as legal actions taken to criminalise homosexuality.
43 year old Wangeshi is a graduate from Yale University who has taken up the art mantle to bring change to her homeland.