22-year-old queer freelance illustrator Khanya Kemami is a force of nature who fearlessly explores ideas about gender, sexuality, and the many facets of queerness.

Khanya’s work draws on surrealism, cartoons and pop art and comes together in an explosion of colour and form that is provocative in its frankness. The child of a Cameroonian father and a Zulu mother, Khanya cites his aunt’s work as his first introduction to queer art created by a woman of colour, but also mentions his mother’s own talent and training as a fine artist.

Speaking to Africa is Now magazine, Khanya describes his art as a depiction of his own experiences, “within my existence as a young, black, queer transman and my relationship with the lack of representation, and complete erasure, of those like myself in the art scene; my experiences with my blackness and masculinity, my two years of homelessness and my relationship with the Earth, to name a few.”

Feminist themes and the exploration of gender identity and sexuality are the subject matter in a lot of Khanya’s work, and he is unashamedly brazen in laying bare his audience in his art.

“I’d like to understand their aesthetic and how powerful their narrative is, even on paper. I’d like them to see my efforts in trying to make us and our images familiar, but never basic. I’d like them to see that in order to get things done right, we sometimes have to do it ourselves rather than waiting for the world to grow up and see our magic; that we are here to dominate all spaces from which we have been erased and kept out of for far too long. Our voices are louder than you think,” Khanya tells Africa is Now.

To learn more about the artist, follow Khanya The Designer on Instagram, Facebook and Tumblr, read an interview with Khanya here, and scroll down to see some of his work.

View this post on Instagram

Real_Babe.psd ___ Dm me if interested in any commission work 🌺

A post shared by Mr. KTD (@khanyathedesigner) on

View this post on Instagram

T3XXXTS: The art series ___ Available for commission work

A post shared by Mr. KTD (@khanyathedesigner) on