Gyal Dem Fiyah: Kim Ninkuru

Gyal Dem Fiyah: Kim Ninkuru

Photo by: Stacy Lee

Photo by: Stacy Lee

Sometimes you meet someone, or just see them out and about, and you can tell they have that energy. You know: that energy that makes them a force, that makes the space around them kind of electric. Issa vibe (as the kids say). Kim Ninkuru throws those vibes. Kim is a multidisciplinary performance-based digital media artist, hailing from Burundi, currently based here in Toronto. Kim is also a force.

Her work is challenging and confrontational – and not in the way that those words are usually used to speak about, in particular, black women’s work, which is challenging and confronting simply by existing. I use those words literally. Her work challenges and confronts us, members of her community, to examine our relationship to the black transfeminine experience. 

Kim knows that we love to throw around buzz words like “feminism” and “allyship” as part of our queer political lexicon, and her art asks that we cut the shit. Her work explores misogyny and misogynoir, appropriation of and profiteering from Blackness, and the fallacy of a feminist agenda that violently, by the hands of cis-women, continues to push our trans sisters under and in front of any bus we can, just to name a few themes. Some of her work feels tongue-in-cheek and makes me LOL. Some of it is uncomfortably cutting. All of it is dope and necessary as a narrative thread in our queer cultural fabric.

Kim has also been instrumental in such events as last year’s Flowers While We’re Living, a showcase that gave centre stage to queer and trans racialized voices and aimed to celebrate black and brown trans lives. Look for her blazing it up @sista_betina on Instagram to follow her works, talks around the city, and general litness.

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