Teneille Craig

Kawira Mwirichia

Teneille Craig
Kawira Mwirichia

Kawira Mwirichia

ARTIST, ACTIVIST

Kawira Mwirichia has been telling stories through art her whole life. And today, she is at the forefront of an artistic movement that is fighting against the discrimination and persecution that Kenya’s LGBTQ community faces. Her work is especially timely as Kenya grapples with the freedoms it is willing to allow LGBTQ lives. In recent months, the Kenyan high court has been listening to arguments from those seeking to decriminalize homosexuality in the country. Current law holds that “carnal knowledge against the order of nature” is a felony, punishable by up to 14 years in prison.

And it is here, amidst debate and argument, that Mwirichia sees arts as a way to bring people closer together. "To Revolutionary Type Love” is a project that celebrates queer love, individuals, history and culture using the khanga material—a colorful cotton cloth with Swahili sayings that is worn every day and in every way within East Africa. “Ultimately, the To Revolutionary Type Love project aims to create a magnificent, queer-driven arts and creative industry here in Kenya, that provides training and employment to hundreds of Kenyan/African queer individuals and whose work impacts our global landscape,” Mwirichia tells OkayAfrica. The project already held a successful exhibition at the Goethe Institut in Nairobi in 2017, with plans of showcasing again in 2020.

But that’s no surprise for those who know Mwirichia. She is a fighter that lives her life to the fullest. “I've been very intentional about creating a life with no regrets, so if I had a chance to do this all over again I'm pretty sure I'd be pursuing the same interests I'm pursuing now.”