Rotimi Fani-Kayode was born in 1955 in Lagos, Nigeria, to a prominent Yoruba family who fled the country in 1966 during the Biafran War. The family settled in Brighton in the UK but Fani-Kayode left to study Fine Art and Economics at Georgetown University in Washington DC, where he became a friend of Robert Mappelthorpe.
He returned to Britain in 1983 where, in the six years up to his death, he produced a hugely influential body of work, often in collaboration with his partner Alex Hirst.
His photographs constitute a profound narrative of sexual and cultural difference, seminal in their exploration of the politics of desire, diaspora, displacement, spirituality and the black male body.
Rotimi Fani-Kayode was a founding member and first Chair of Autograph. He died on December 21, 1989 from an AIDS-related illness.
He wrote: “On three counts I am an outsider: in matters of sexuality; in terms of geographical and cultural dislocation; and in the sense of not having become the sort of respectably married professional my parents might have hoped for.”
ABOVE IS A SELECTION OF IMAGES BY ROTIMI FANI-KAYODE IN THE AUTOGRAPH ARCHIVE