Kunbi Oni

on Rotimi Fani-Kayode

An excerpt from DEAR DAVE, 25

In this representation of Yoruba mythology, Fani-Kayode associates himself with the god of smallpox who brought about the illness and whose victims were considered transgressive in their unsightly affliction; and subsequently banished and ostracized. Rather than ascribe Fani-Kayode’s experience of living openly as a gay man with Sonponnoi’s banishment and ostracization, it is far more interesting the premise that Fani-Kayode’s intention and meaning for this photograph becomes a symbol for his work. In other words, the overarching principle for his body of work is transgression - the transgressive nature of the pagan god and his practice of the Yoruba religion set against the norm of Christianity in which he was raised.