The bridging of art and health started when Tumaini Lyaruu was 19 and in a community arts-based program called The Empower Project that trains people 15-29 years old to become sexual health peer educators. Crocheting condom cases was a way to have conversations with other young people about Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) and sexual health in ways that could be fun and interactive.
In Tumainis search for relevant resources working as a sexual health educator, T was often hard pressed to come across imagery of genitalia that did not show the most exaggerated, fake or graphic symptoms of living with a sexually transmitted infection (STI). On top of that, no matter what the age group, people are unfamiliar with the physical anatomy of the variation of human external genitalia.
So Tumaini decided to start crocheting genitalia to be able to engage people in conversations about health in ways that aren't fear mongering, and to continue creating art work that keeps learning fun and interactive. Additionally, through the Genitalia Storyweaving component of this project, Genitalia Is works in collaboration with other artists to create educational tools that tell the many stories of how we learn about our bodies and health.