Outros Corpos Nossos / Other Bodies of Ours

Aghi, Caio Simoes de Araujo


Edition : First / Johannesburg / MaThoko / 2021 / Softcover. / VG+
4to, 160pp. Printed wraps as issued. Numerous Colour and Black & White plates. Text in English and Portugese.

Sexual and gender minorities have been historically construed as the marginal “others’ of dominant society. This experience of ‘otherness’ has been crucially constitutive of LGBTIQ+ identities, shaping personalities and marking the imaginary boundaries between the community and society at large. In this context, the gendered and sexed body is a terrain in which this otherness is lived, experienced and often subverted. If identity is embodied, mediated through the corporeal, the placement of bodies in space, in the city ‘ where one can go, the place one can call their own ‘ is no simple matter. Rather, it is embedded in the politics of queer visibility and recognition. In spite of adversity, queer people still take to the street, occupy the city, carve a space of their own, a space where they belong. By claiming an identity, a body and a city as ‘ours’, the LGBTIQ+ movement, its artists and activists, issue an urgent message of belonging and empowerment. Here, this short concoction of words ‘ Other, Bodies, Ours ‘ incorporates these dimensions of queer experience: the overlapping of otherness and self, the corpo-reality of identities, and the urgent claim for belonging in a community. With this in mind, the project Outros corpos nossos – Other Bodies of Ours follows a group of queer artists and activists as they carve out for themselves a space in the world, and in the city. The texts, photographs, portraits and testimonies comprise a living and lived archive of queer narratives in Maputo. As such, this book has been designed to blur the tenuous lines between public history and private biography. The photographs do not solely document an event; they are the product of the conversation between the photographer, the performers, and the public and private spaces they occupy. In presenting this work, the book hopes to interrogate the very means by which memories and archives are produced, silenced and reactivated in the midst of political struggles for LGBTIQ+ rights, visibility and recognition. The project facilitates important dialogue surrounding queer life in Mozambique by promoting LGBTIQ+ visibility and empowerment through the languages of photography and oral history as strategies of archive-making and activism. The collection of photographs, essays, and personal narratives is the result of over 2 years of intense work and collaboration between the community, the visual artist Aghi, who shot the pictures and the researcher Caio Sim’es, an anthropologist and historian based at Wits University and working in Mozambique, who was collecting oral histories for GALA, Gay and Lesbian Archive South Africa.

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