Soft

Namafu Amutse

Soft is a photo series that explores the relationship between three brothers. This visual work aids in combating the hegemonic forms of Black masculinity, and revisits the intersections of Blackness and manhood contributing towards diversifying images of Black masculinity. The specific complex addressed in these visuals is that of softness. The visuals that we often encounter concerning Black boys and Black men, portray the constant stereotypes of violence, aggression, and hypersexualisation, dehumanising the Black man and making him feel as if he is a one-dimensional being in a world where it is so clear that our existence is multifaceted.

The constant push of this narrative drowns our ability to perceive Black men and boys as soft, subtle, loving, caring and as emotionally attached beings. Soft is an emphasis for us as individuals to do the necessary introspection on how we view Black men and boys and how they view themselves. We need to start creating the much-needed spaces and having the much-needed conversations for the unlearning and unpacking to begin. 

Soft

Soft like the fur on your teddy bear
Soft like a father’s kisses
Even in the air
Soft because you care
Because you dare
Soft like your tenderness about to appear
Soft like crushing hypermasculinity to fineness
So fine you see it disappear
Soft because you are not made of steel
You are flesh, bone and blood
Liquid, gold and feel
You are made of heart
Gentle smiles and feathered hugs
Soft like the rays of the sun
Free, like the waves that come
Soft like crushing hypermasculinity to fineness
So fine you see it disappear

Namafu Amutse is a multidisciplinary artist from Swakopmund, Namibia. She is currently pursuing a Bachelors of Education Honours degree in English and German at the University of Namibia. Her work is fuelled by Southern African tradition, feminism, and Afrofuturism with the focus of centering black perspectives. In October 2020, Namafu had her first solo exhibition Bright Eyes Into Afrofuturism curated by Efano Efano Gallery, followed by a group exhibition in June 2021 We Know It In Our Bones curated by Start Art Gallery and Sister Namibia. Earlier in October 2021, her work was exhibited in Dubai at the first edition Africa Speaks-54: Transforming The Future of Africa Art Exhibition. Amutse is also the 2021 Visual Arts Inaugural Winner of the Bank Windhoek Doek Literary Awards for her photos series Chrysalis, which was first published in Doek Literary Magazine’s 4th issue.

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