Kehinde Wiley Challenges French Colonialism and Celebrates Māhū Indentity

© B.Huet/Tutti

© B.Huet/Tutti

In his latest work, Kehinde Wiley celebrates the identity of Tahitian Māhū people. Māhū loosely translates to “trans” and is a term to describe those of a third gender. Historically, Māhū people were deeply respected and often served as healers, priests, teachers and keepers of the culture in Native Hawaiian and Tahitian communities. The prominence of Christian missionaries in Polynesia led to transphobic and homophobic laws that created a stigma around Māhū identity.

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