Zanele Muholi is a South African photographer and visual activist (1972, Umlazi, Durban).
The Stedelijk Museum of Amsterdam presents from 8th July to 15th October, her debut museum solo exhibition in Netherlands. Even though, the work of Zanele Muholi was previously seen in group shows, and is represented in various Dutch collections, including that of the Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam.
In this exhibition Muholi photographs the black lesbian and transgender community in South Africa, but from an “insider perspective”, it is about a series of self-portraits, what marks a radical new step in her work, this series is called Somnyama Ngonyama (Hail the Dark Lioness, 2015 to the present) and is her latest series.
She’s often experimenting with lighting and new poses, more dramatic. And by turning the camera on herself, she wants to capture the multiple roles she needs to assume as a black lesbian woman in her country. Through the use of high-contrast black and white tonal values, she wants to emphasize the “blackness” of her own skin.
With this series, the Stedelijk Museum presents two other important series: Faces and Phases, emotionally charged portraits of lesbians; and Brave Beauties. Also, there is a projection of the documentary We live in fear (2013) and one of the exhibition galleries has been transformed into a documentary space for Inkanyiso, (Zulu for “the one who brings light”) that is the multi-media platform that Muholi founded in 2009 with the aim to create a visual history of LGBTQI communities.
Zanele Muholi wants “to re-write a clack queer and trans visual history of South Africa for the world to know of our resistance and existence at the height of hate crimes in SA and beyond”.
For more information about this exhibition visit the web of Stedelijk Museum.
Photo credit: The Guardian