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Update: Tanzanian Government Says Crackdown on Gay Citizens 'Does Not Represent' Official Policy

The Tanzanian government says that Regional Commissioner Paul Makonda was "airing his personal opinion" about his plans to target gay citizens on social media.

UPDATE: 11/5/18

The Tanzanian government says it does not back Regional Commissioner Paul Makonda's massive crackdown on gay citizens. Stating that it "does not represent" government policy, reports BBC Africa.

Makonda's discriminatory plan garnered a fury of backlash from rights groups and observers on social media when it was first announced last week.

"Mr Makonda was only airing his personal opinion," rather than government policy, said the government in a statement. Adding that the government would "continue to respect and uphold all human rights as provided for in the country's constitution."

It is still unclear, however, whether or not Makonda will go ahead with plans to enlist a task force to target LGBTQ Tanzanians through information found on social media, which he said would begin today.

Despite the government's attempts to distance itself from the proposed plan, Tanzanian law still deems "homosexual acts" illegal and punishable by up to 30 years in prison—an enduring law from the country's colonial era.

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In one of the most extreme cases of government initiated homophobia, the Regional Commissioner of Tanzania's most populous region has announced his plans for a massive crackdown on members of the city's LGBTQ community by appointing a task force to identify gay people online.

READ: Dissecting The 'Homosexuality Is Un-African' Myth

He announced his plans for sweeping arrests of gay citizens in an interview on Monday that was shared on social media, reports CNN Africa. "I have received reports that there are so many homosexuals in our city, and these homosexuals, are advertising and selling their services on the internet," said Paul Makonda. "Therefore, I am announcing this to every citizen of Dar es Salaam. If you know any gays...report them to me."

"These homosexuals boast on social networks," he added.


When asked about the international backlash that the decision will undoubtedly draw, Makonda, described as a pious Christian and a loyal supporter of president John Magufuli stated "I prefer to anger those countries than to anger God," adding that same-sex relationships "trample on the moral values of Tanzanians and our two Christian and Muslim religions," as quoted in News 24.

LGBTQ Tanzanians face up to a 30-year jail sentence under the law. There are similar punishments for members of the gay community throughout Africa. Last October, 12 men were arrested for "promoting homosexuality" in the country.

Many have taken to social media to denounce the glaring human rights abuse.



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Artwork: Barthélémy Toguo Lockdown Selfportrait 10, 2020. Courtesy Galerie Lelong & Co

1-54 Contemporary African Art Fair Goes to Paris in 2021

The longstanding celebration of African art will be hosted by Parisian hot spot Christie's for the first time ever.

In admittedly unideal circumstances, 1-54 Contemporary African Art Fair will be touching French soil in 2021. The internationally celebrated art fair devoted to contemporary art from Africa and the African diaspora will be hosted in Paris, France from January 20 - 23. With COVID-19 still having its way around the globe, finding new ways to connect is what it's all about and 1-54 is certainly taking the innovative steps to keep African art alive and well.
In partnership with Christie's, the in-person exhibits will take place at the auction house's city HQ at Avenue Matignon, while 20 international exhibitors will be featured online at Christies.com. And the fun doesn't stop there as the collaboration has brought in new ways to admire the talent from participating galleries from across Africa and Europe. The fair's multi-disciplinary program of talks, screenings, performances, workshops, and readings are set to excite and entice revelers.

Artwork: Delphine Desane Deep Sorrow, 2020. Courtesy Luce Gallery


The tech dependant program, curated by Le 18, a multi-disciplinary art space in Marrakech medina, will see events take place during the Parisian run fair, followed by more throughout February.
This year's 1-54 online will be accessible to global visitors virtually, following the success of the 2019's fair in New York City and London in 2020. In the wake of COVID-19 related regulations and public guidelines, 1-54 in collaboration with Christie's Paris is in compliance with all national regulations, strict sanitary measures, and security.

Artwork: Cristiano Mongovo Murmurantes Acrilico Sobre Tela 190x200cm 2019


1-54 founding director Touria El Glaoui commented, "Whilst we're sad not to be able to go ahead with the fourth edition of 1-54 Marrakech in February as hoped, we are incredibly excited to have the opportunity to be in Paris this January with our first-ever fair on French soil thanks to our dedicated partners Christie's. 1-54's vision has always been to promote vibrant and dynamic contemporary art from a diverse set of African perspectives and bring it to new audiences, and what better way of doing so than to launch an edition somewhere completely new. Thanks to the special Season of African Culture in France, 2021 is already set to be a great year for African art in the country so we are excited to be playing our part and look forward, all being well, to welcoming our French friends to Christie's and many more from around the world to our online fair in January."

Julien Pradels, General Director of Christie's France, said, "Christie's is delighted to announce our second collaboration with 1-54, the Contemporary African Art Fair, following a successful edition in London this October. Paris, with its strong links to the continent, is a perfect place for such a project and the additional context of the delayed Saison Africa 2020 makes this partnership all the more special. We hope this collaboration will prove a meaningful platform for the vibrant African art scene and we are confident that collectors will be as enthusiastic to see the works presented, as we are."


Artwork: Kwesi Botchway Metamorphose in July, 2020. Courtesy of the artist and Gallery 1957


Here's a list of participating galleries to be on the lookout for:

Galleries

31 PROJECT (Paris, France)
50 Golborne (London, United Kingdom)
Dominique Fiat (Paris, France)
Galerie 127 (Marrakech, Morocco)
Galerie Anne de Villepoix (Paris, France)
Galerie Cécile Fakhoury (Abidjan, Côte d'Ivoire/ Dakar, Senegal)
Galerie Eric Dupont (Paris, France)
Galerie Lelong & Co. (Paris, France / New York, USA)
Galerie Nathalie Obadia (Paris, France / Brussels, Belgium)
Galleria Continua (Beijing, China / Havana, Cuba / Les Moulins, France / San Gimignano, Italy / Rome, Italy)
Gallery 1957 (Accra, Ghana / London, United Kingdom)
Loft Art Gallery (Casablanca, Morocco)

Luce Gallery (Turin, Italy)
MAGNIN-A (Paris, France)
Nil Gallery (Paris, France)
POLARTICS (Lagos, Nigeria)
SEPTIEME Gallery (Paris, France)
This is Not a White Cube (Luanda, Angola) THK Gallery (Cape Town, South Africa) Wilde (Geneva, Switzerland)

For more info visit 1-54

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