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troubling wanjiku

Troubling Wanjiku - a visual conversation with Wambui Mwangi. Presented at the 'Being Wanjiku?' exhibition, Alliance Francaise de Nairobi, March 2012.

The idea for Troubling Wanjiku stems from a question – as Wanjiku represents the common Kenyan, what would Wanjiku be like as Kamau? This goes into an examination of women’s roles and what it would mean for a man to take on those roles. While this is more common in everyday life, there is still an insinuation that certain tasks are ‘reserved’ for women. Also, the images place men in the path of the gaze, in a conventional fashion that has normally been reserved for women. It is not an attempt to emasculate the models, but rather, works to create questions for the viewer when they relate the images to their own experiences of men and women. The juxtaposition between the feminine – the way the khanga is worn, the tasks being carried out, the poses of the men – and the masculinity of the bodies themselves creates a conversation on what it means to be a man, a woman, to trouble the idea of gender and what it is to be Wanjiku.


© Marziya Mohammedali, 2001-2013