ARAFA CYNTHIA HAMADI
THE KUJIONA SERIES
Kusanya, Jifunze and Jione (Top to Bottom) of Kujiona Series. 2020. Kilif, Kenya
In this series, I explore my culture with an intent to fnd myself within it. I am from Dar-es-Salaam, and I have found myself actively and inactively living in other towns along this Swahili coast. This has led me to a process of relearning about my home, the cultures and the people who live here. The KujionaSeries is born from this process, and includes the conversations and creations I have accumulated in the past three months.
The frst part of the series – images of a scavenged and painted Swahili dhow – follows a three part progression that moves from collecting (Kusanya), relearning (Jifunze) and reimagining oneself (Jione). Through this work, I hope to present a very personal process of rediscovering my culture and an intentional repositioning of myself and my queer identity.
The titular meditative flm, Kujiona, follows the progression of a protagonist, myself, having two conversations. The frst is with the scavenged dhow that I have created an artwork out of. The second is a conversation with Kevin Mwachiro – a queer Swahili man who has also found himself through engaging with the coast. This is presented through snippets overlaid with sounds from the coast that are familiar, and I hope this captures the continuous dialogue I am having with my home.
ABOUT THE ARTIST
Arafa Cynthia Hamadi is a non-binary, multidisciplinary artist working in Tanzania and Kenya. They create artwork in various mediums that address the intersections of the conceptual and the physical, as well as the ephemeral and the permanent, in hopes of provoking their visitors into considering their daily realities. Arafa’s work also explores their queerness in relation to space and occupancy. They work in the realms of 3D design, graphic design, sculpture, and architecture.