Haneem Christian: a visual poet and activist from Cape Town

Haneem Christian is a 24 years old Visual Poet and Activist, born and raised in Grassy Park in Cape Town. Christian is a graduate of Gender Studies and Environmental and Geographical Sciences from the University of Cape Town. After graduating, Christian forged her way as a formidable Creative Director and Photographer, with a particular focus on representation within the Black and Brown LGBTQIA+ community.

What is your zodiac sign?
I’m a Pisces (with my rising sign in Pisces too and my moon is in Aries)

What is your daily routine?
My daily routine differs from day to day. Some days I shoot the whole day until sunset. Other days I’m editing work. And some days I make sure I find rest and gather energy for whatever comes next. So every day looks different for me.However, I begin everyday with a workout. Exercising really help me release energy as well as strengthen my discipline and help maintain a positive mental state.

Which of your projects do you consider to be the best?
This is an interesting question. I definitely don’t think I have a “best” body of work because each body of work serves a different purpose and carries a different message. With that being said, I think my body of work “The Memorial Ball” has been one of the most impactful body of works I have ever created. “The Memorial Ball” is a body of work that honours and celebrates the life of Kirvan Fortuin. Kirvan was the House Mother of The House of Le Cap and was recently murdered in a homophobic attack. This project represents only joy and gratitude. It has brought me, the children House of Le Cap as well as everyone who knew Kirvan so much joy in remembering the beautiful life and legacy of Kirvan Fortuin. The Memorial currently being exhibited at Ebony/Curated in Cape Town.

The best movie you ever saw and why?
I would have to say Apocalypto. It really brought me to so many sacred truths.

What subject do you like to photograph the most?
I think I just like to capture people who live their truth fearlessly- whatever that might look like. I feel that it is my duty to share the stories of those who exist on the margins of society and amplify their voices and their truths.

What is the goal of your shots? Do they intend to have a social impact?
My intention behind the work I create is to make work that young children can find pieces of themselves in. Work that young, queer, black and brown children can find themselves in and remember that they are beautiful, worthy and most importantly, that they are not alone.

Can you tell us your source of inspiration?
I am inspired by many things. Right now I’m really inspired by the idea of finding the light within the shadow- finding beauty within pain.

What rights for trans people you intend to claim with your shots?
My work intends to portray Trans people with dignity, respect and gratitude. My work centres the trans experience in a world where trans peoples existence is erased. I feel like I, as someone who is not trans, don’t have the space to speak for trans people – however, I hope my work can contribute to the larger trans and queer narrative that will liberate those who see it.

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