Tyna Adebowale (Nigerian, 1982) uses the body as a signifier and tool to trace history and advocate for the visibility of queer lifestyles. She critiques consumerism and imperialist structures, patriarchy and Christianity, as not inherent to the Nigerian structures of society and cohabitation within the communities. Prior to colonial and imperialist times, Nigeria was a female-oriented society with flexible gender systems in which queer people had a valued place. Through the consecutive influence of foreign involvement, such as British education and globally disseminated cultures, Nigerians have become alienated from their own background and related identities. Today, queer lifestyles and other modes of deviant behavior are heavily denounced. Adebowale aims to counter the imposed influences, and rejuvenate knowledge, possibilities, and an appreciation of alternative ways of existence.
Adebowale makes drawings in which her androgynous alter ego and her twin brother function as a bodily means of connecting history. The artist also collaborates with suppressed queer communities who have painfully internalized negative perceptions. Their collective films empower them as creative entrepreneurs and offer ways of regaining self-worth and (re)constructing a positive attitude and perception of themselves. Even though the videos are made in a Nollywood fashion and thus make use of an amateur cast, they disseminate stories not shown in mainstream movies. Rising up against the limiting systems that stem from colonial disruptions and interruptions and the suppression of old sexual lifestyles, Adebowale opts for a revival of dual sex gender fluidity and matriarchal reign. Through the representation of queer bodies and narratives, she strives to make these lifestyles visible and appreciated.