About The “to revolutionary type love” project

 
 

The TO REVOLUTIONARY TYPE LOVE project is inspired by love.

As implied by its name, the project is a toast TO all types of (Queer) revolutionary acts of love, both past and present, so that the project itself essentially becomes an act of love and celebration through the spectrum of the LGBTQIA+.

Kawira Mwirichia is the brainchild behind #TRTL. The project uniquely illustrates rainbow love on kangas* using imagery and symbols unique to the triumphs of the queer movement in each country. In addition, love quotes collected from the Kenyan queer community are appropriately matched to each country’s kanga.

*These symbols and words of rainbow love are creatively designed on a "kanga/khanga," an East African traditional cotton cloth decoratively printed in bold designs with a Swahili saying or message included.

Traditionally, a khanga is often shared with others as a gift or used in celebratory events such as weddings to honour the couple, guests or the occasion. By matching each country’s revolutionary queerstory to a quote by the Kenyan queer community, the Kenyan queer community (through Kawira’s designs) are able to mirror this gesture of gift-giving to the global Queer community.

Also in Kenyan culture, kangas are laid down on the ground during wedding ceremonies to receive a bride and take her to her groom, or, to receive the wedded couple after they’ve exchanged their vows. This traditional gesture of laying down kangas is accompanied with lots of singing and fanfare, most of which is meant to let the neighbours know that the coupling is one that the family is very happy with, and therefore the family is being openly happy, welcoming and celebratory of the bride and/or couple. Sadly, this is a gesture that Queer individuals and lovers miss out on because our society doesn’t recognize us as worthy of existing or being seen, let alone going so far as to celebrate a queer child’s love and lover in such an open “let the neighbours know” kind of way. Therefore, during “To Revolutionary Type Love” events and showcases, the TRTL kangas are laid down on the ground as a way for the queer community to celebrate themselves and each other, with kangas full of their own revolutionary history and affirming messages of love and sass.

On May 17th 2017 as the world celebrated IDAHOBIT, this project mirrored the gesture of honouring queer love on the Opening Night of its exhibit at the Goethe Institut in Nairobi, Kenya. Kawira presented the designed khangas for a number of Nations, hoping to inspire and instill a sense of self-love, pride and well-being in our queer community here in Kenya as it reaches out to the world. Kawira also invited six photographers to share their interpretation of love in the lives of our diverse Kenyan spectrum of the LGBTQIA. Imagine, instances of love captured on film. Love seen, acknowledged and celebrated, a rare moment for many around the world. In June, 2020 Kawira will once again come together with various artists to celebrate the Queer community here in Nairobi and our rich history of revolutionary love around the world. You can read more about our #June2020 plans here and support the work if you can!

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