On Representing ‘Doubly Othered’ Gay, Black Subjects

  • Aaron Muldoon


In this essay, I explore what happens to our conventional understanding of ‘othering’ when subjects are not just othered on one count, but on two: in this case, on account of both their blackness and their homosexuality. Focusing specifically on the case of artist subjects, I demonstrate that this process of double othering has significant bearing on the interpretation of these subjects’ artworks. Thereby to provide a more adequate model for approaching these subjects and their work, I propose expanding Homi Bhabha’s conception of cultural hybrids to account for these subjects’ sexuality too. In order to lend support to this expanded concept of hybridity – and to provide an example of its application to the context of artistic production – I consider the work of the Nigerian-born photographer Rotimi Fani-Kayode. I draw attention to the complexity of the theoretical framework required to sufficiently capture all the processes at work in determining how both he and his artwork are perceived in a post-colonial context. In doing so, I aim to lend support to the contention that the cultural production of those in similarly ‘doubly othered’ social situations as Fani-Kayode is best understood within the context of this expanded concept of hybridity.