Unwilting & Tenderstill

Unwilting & tender still is an on-going photo series that centers softness and intimacy as defiance. Inspired by the battle for queer and trans rights in East Africa, the continent at large, and the world, the series is spurred by the belief that Queer Community Saves Lives.

The series celebrates proximity, closeness, and the power of embraces.

Out here, in this version of the real world, with a country on everyone’s shoulders – in a home in a church in a beer in a prayer – all these niggas keep the faith. “Why do you do queer art?” feels a lot like “are you doing the gay?”

In this version of the real world, I keep learning that the body is a protest. To some, the most controversial thing I’ve ever done is to keep breathing. And, I’m spiteful, so I make them deep; incense the air, burn some flowers and keep them in my lungs; I keep breathing

And I remember holding the thought that we are not going anywhere.

About the Artist

Kuln’Zu is a photographer and artist from Maputo, Mozambique, currently based in Nairobi, Kenya Their work explores themes of migration, queerness and care, with the body as tool, metaphor and subject. Raised across multiple geographies from Maputo, to Nairobi, Johannesburg, to Los Angeles and New York; their photography blends these experiences through a mystical, surreal and queer lens.

Creative Credits

Photographer & Creative Director: Kuln’Zu (@kulnzu)

Models: Joanna Venevi (@joanna_venevi), Erick Muiruri (@spacecadet.e), Marcus Mbogo (@marcusmbogo), Gabrielle Andyah (@_ellandia_)

Makeup: Gabrielle Andyah (@_ellandia_)

Crew & Studio: Sheila Njuguna (@lauralaruna19), Njoroge Muthoni (@voireveritestudio), NIT Studio (@nit_studio)