LUNAR CONSCIOUSNESS: THE SEEN AND UNSEEN

Bakhita in a pose

Why the name Bakhita? Lunar consciousness ?

So my actual name is Bakhita, growing up around many English names and getting teased for my name bore a deep love and resonation with it, so once I started working in the creative industry I knew that I wanted to go by something I draw power from and the name actually means the lucky one so I ran with it. Lunar Consciousness actually started out as an alter ego for me as my Instagram page grew more personal than my then Facebook page which focused on socializing. It was a space for me to get away and share my deepest thoughts, dreams, aspirations and fears, hence Lunar. And consciousness  because I’d always been into introspection and self knowledge so my Instagram was a space for me to finally share the deepest parts of my mind and being through visual art, poems and music.

When did you discover your artistic bone?

Honestly It has always been with me. My mum was trained in classical singing so I grew up admiring that and practicing with her. Then I started piano and Voice lessons in 2003, participated in a bunch of competitions, stopped that in 2013 because I wanted to personalize my music before getting back into creating and performing music; my own music in 2015. For Art And set design I started in nursery; I was in an arts school, so I picked up my love for visual arts there. I did a brief course in painting at Nairobi Art Center in 2010 and thereafter continued in school through my O-levels.

How is navigating the art scene as a queer and please free to share or not your pronoun, gender and sexuality?

Honestly it’s a love hate relationship, I identify as gender fluid/ Non Binary and use they/them and occasionally She/Her pronouns. Love because the level of expression and openes that comes with being in the creative industry actually exposed me to the versatility of the queer community. The first non-binary person I met was when I was working at on stage design at the kilifi new year in 2018 and I’ve been blessed enough have the space to fully immerse my self in queerness and our community since then.

The hate for this navigation mostly stems from interactions with closed minded straight people; who I often find in the music and media part of our industry. The lack of being able to actually be myself and be perceived how I’d like is very jarring and honestly part of the reason why I still use she/her pronouns occasionally.  Also the hyper-sexualization that comes from straight men especially when I speak about my sexuality (pan-sexual) is extremely discombobulating and exhausting to endure. But hey at least I’m able to curate my experience and surround myself with queer people as much as I can.

How do you reconcile the different art disciplines you are doing?

So all my disciplines actually feed onto each other. I can’t create music without needing posters, cover art and music videos, and When I create visual work I often think of songs that would compliment it, so this necessity is what bore my passion for set design; Especially since I didn’t know any Queer creatives who could execute my ideas. And so they all mesh together beautifully and allow me to thoroughly express my ideas.

Bakhita serving face

What’s your artistic process like?

My process all stems from a love for introspection, expression and color. Once I identify a thought or feeling that I have been sitting with, I comb through different  Ideas to most vividly and poetically bring these ideas to life.

What advice/tips would you give aspiring artist coming up as a queer do you think it matters in the industry?

Wow it definately, my largest piece of advise would be to find your community and surround yourself with queer people because its too easy to get lost in the sauce trying to fit-in in straight circles. Also because this will allow you to have people you can lean on emotionally that resonate with you; cause the creative industry is rough so support is essential.

Mental health is not a joke, and so its very important to not put your self in spaces that challenge that, especially as a queer person because aside from outright discrimination, there is a lot of prejudice against queerness in our current society so you can find your self surrounded by a lot of fake love and care.

Is there a queer friendly artist management agency or label you could recommend to fellow artists?

Yes! Sony management agency; Kipepeo agency, largely focuses working with women and queer artists, and they are very in tune with queerness and advocating for queer people and women in our society. Part of the team is actually queer and Maija (the founder) is very hands on with ensuring all the artists on her roster are treated with respect and care. Haha she often even takes on arguments about my pronouns for me with different media houses and gig establishments  which is great to experience because it’s an affirmation that I’m supported.

Is the industry ready to listen to music by queer artists and or queer content?

Heh this is heavy to unpack because no they are not but we are not going to give them a choice. I think we are slowly paving the way for more queer content to be accepted by the larger society with is beauitful but My personal mission as a queer artist is to flood all the circles I enter with Quality Queer art so we can nornamize our existance and experience. I have experienced alot of prejudice in this, but mehn THEY CANNOT STOP THE REGGAE and I’m not going to water myself down.

What genre influenced your choices of music today?

Wow I listen to alot of music, but I’d say Jazz, Disco, Funk, and 90s RnB really shaped my music tone and style.

What is your new body of work about?

My latest work is Visual project for one of the tracks off my last EP Purge, Anxiety’s Bitch, which is a funky tune about the relationship I have with my mental health and Shadow self.

This song carries with it the juxtaposition between light and Dark, the seen and unseen. It is a tune about the relationship people hold with their mental health. The way they present them selves vs the turmoil they experience internally.

It daringly celebrates the understanding of self that comes with wanting to die.

This song is the heart of the concept behind the purge. The eating disorders and mental struggles that are worked through until they can be violently removed with love; for the self.

And so the visual project explores this theme through 4 elaborate sets, states of mind and colors; Red- Confusion and fear, Blue Submission and Drowning, Green introspection and healing and finally black and white as a manifestation of anxiety.

What does Bakhita’s future look like?

I often joke about this but firstly to Completely Dominate the Visual arts and design sector. I know that my creative direction and Set/Stage design work is very fresh and unique and so my mission is to have more Africans interested in edgy and intricate visual work. My goal is to open a studio company dedicated to creative sets for different films, photo shoots, video shoots etc and in the process also create safer job opportunities for queer people interested in design work.

For music I hope to travel the world sharing my work with different people, and gathering inspo for various POC communities. I’m very passionate about live music especially, so I hope to dominate this angle of the music industry too but setting up sensory immersive shows globally and changing the narrative of what event experiences should be.

Quick 3s

Your icon of all time?

MOSES SUMNEY, SOLANGE and AMAARAE

Which song is on repeat on your playlist?

SAD GURLS LOVE MONEY by amaarae and Huh by Dreamer Isioma

Art style?

SURREALISM, PUNK and maximalism.

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