Zanele Muholi
Sine II, Sheraton Hotel, Brooklyn, 2019

  • Silver gelatin print, Ed. 8 + 2 AP
  • 64,5 × 48,5 cm
  • Acquired in 2020

Zanele Muholi combines political activism and photographic image production in their practice. Their iconic photographs of people from the South African LGBTQI+ community are unique in their strength and immediacy. Muholi pursues social injustices faced by LGBTQI+ people from a subjective perspective by building relationships with the People they depict. Only in more recent photo series, which include Gamalakhe I and Sine II, is the self-portrait in the center: Self-aware and interrogative, the portraits are serious reflections on the genre and the artists place in it. As Muholi adapts different clothing and accessories, they slip into different facets of the characters they create. In 2002 Muholi founded the ‘Forum for the Empowerment of Women,’ and they define their artistic practice as visual activism: “I embarked on a journey of visual activism to ensure that there is black lesbian and trans visibility, to showcase our existence and resistance in this democratic society, to present a positive imagery of black lesbians.” (Z.M.)

South African visual activist Zanele Muholi (b. 1972) combines classical portraiture, fashion photography, and ethnographic imagery to establish different archetypes and personae.

Zanele Muholi

* 1972 Umlazi, South Africa
Lives and works in Johannesburg, South Africa
Zanele Muholi
Zibandlela VI, III and II, The Sails, Durban, 2020
Triptych, silver gelatin print

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