Exclusive: Artist Adejoke Tugbiyele on giving voice to the voiceless

Nigerian-American artist and activist Adejoke Tugbiyele uses mixed media to give voice to the LGBTI communities of Africa.

In an exclusive interview filmed during the build up to American-born Nigerian artist and activist Adejoke Tugbiyele’s first African exhibition at the Goodman Gallery in Cape Town, Tugbiyele talks about how she uses her art to speak to her personal experiences of being a African woman in an LGBTI community. Her exhibition, TESTIMONY, which includes sculptural pieces, video and drawings, confronts issues of gender and sexual orientation.

“For the sake of my work and for the exhibition it would be helpful to focus on the community of people that I feel I am hoping to give voice to in an area that they lack voice – and that would be the LGBT community, not only in Nigeria but in Africa and the diaspora and certain here [in South Africa] as well,” says Tugbiyele.

A percentage of proceeds from the exhibition TESTIMONY went towards supporting the educational mission of Iranti-Org. Iranti-Org is a lesbian and transgender visual media organisation established in 2012. It works within a human rights framework to raise issues of sexual orientation and gender identities. To date, Iranti-org has documented hate crimes and human rights violations across South Africa.