Nseabasi Akpan

All we need is love by Nseabasi Akpan

My photography series is titled ‘’All We Need Is Love’’. The series is intended to challenge the stereotypical representation of LGBTQ in Nigerian cultures. The project hopes to give a better understanding of their lives and create a debate about their rights and future in Nigeria. I hope that this body of work portrays the emotions that are the same with every lover irrespective of gender and sexuality.

In 2014, Nigeria’s former president, signed the Same-Sex Marriage Prohibition Bill criminalizing LGBT persons. The law prohibits marriage between persons of the same sex, forbids any cohabitation between same-sex sexual partners and bans any public display of same sex amorous relationship. The law imposes a 10-to-14-year prison sentence on anyone who registers, operates or participates in LGBT clubs and organizations or supports their activities. This law has become a tool in legitimizing human rights violations and different types of abuse such as torture, sexual violence, arbitrary detention, violations of due process rights, and extortion, perpetrated against LGBTQ people.

While underage marriage and violence against women has made little to no headlines in Nigerian news, LGBTQ people continue to be harassed in Nigerian media and by law enforcement.

The persons’ identities are hidden for security purposes. The photos are nude in protest of the way the subjects have been treated because of their sexuality. For me, it is important that these photos give them a voice and visibility. Above all to promote respect, inclusion and freedom of expression.

I hope this can lead to creating a system to give them protection from violence, arbitrary arrest and detention, torture in custody, and extortion. In the end we are all humans and we all desire to love and be loved.

Nseabasi Akpan is a freelance photographer based in Ibadan, Nigeria. Nseabasi is a recipient of the One World Media Prize, European Union/African Union Photography Prize, the BBC Focus on Africa Photo Essay Prize & Fearlessly Inspirational Photography Award.

His photography focuses on storytelling and on documenting the present for the future, as well as it aims to educate, entertain and empower and bring awareness to issues that can elevate public understanding and compassion and give voice to inconsiderable issues and those who would otherwise never be heard.