Video

Labeeb

Abdi Osman

2012, 04:23 minutes, colour, Somali

TAPECODE 2082.00

Labeeb is an intimate portrait of Sumaya, a Somali trans-‐woman. One video documents aspects of her daily life, while the other portrays Sumaya performing a Somali ritual usually reserved for women. This practice is one that Somali women undertake when preparing for a special occasion or ceremony. The practice itself is a hybrid: traditional and religious. The double projection is meant to add texture and complexity to Osman’s attempt to engage with questions of gender, sexuality, and culture. The videos speak to the hybrid cultural expressions of Sumaya and other persons like her. These images place African-‐born trans-people directly within the traditions of their African/black cultural heritage.

While posing questions concerning gender, culture, and religion, the videos examine how the body can move into new states of being. They are themselves “trans-‐ing” practices, crossing the traditional with the new all-‐in-‐one body. This work pushes back against claims made by some African leaders that there are no African queers in their countries. It questions how we understand the various roles bodies play or perform, and which bodies or genders are understood to perform them—in particular, assumptions we make about female, black, queer, and trans bodies.

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