Pittsburgh-born photographer Owunna traveled to Nigeria for the first time when he was 15 years old. He had been outed to his parents, who believed that a trip to their native country would help him connect to his culture and would “save” him. Owunna would return to Nigeria year after year, where he was put through a series of ritualistic practices aimed at expelling his homosexuality. His family believed his sexual orientation was the result of being raised in America, dubbing his queer identity un-African, a belief that was principally passed down through generations of colonization in Africa.
Traumatized by his experience, Owunna rejected his Nigerian culture in favor of his queer identity. It wasn’t until his most recent project, “Limit(less),” that he began to embrace the possibility of being both. The series captures a community of queer African immigrants who revel in their African heritage while maintaining pride in their LGBTQ identity. Each of the portraits is paired with an interview, in which Owunna asks the subjects about their relationships with their families, many of which mirror his own. His subjects, who are often draped in African fabrics, look into the camera with a defiant confidence.