About this artwork
A self-described “visual activist,” Zanele Muholi aims—in both their photographs and social activism—to redefine the face of Africa and combat violence against the LGBT community. In 2006 they began a series of portraits, Faces and Phases, celebrating black lesbians in Africa. The photographs became an archive of positive images of black queer culture, in their words “marking, mapping, and preserving an often invisible community for posterity.” Muholi counters oppression by ensuring visibility, giving human expression to otherwise faceless statistics. In the vein of August Sander, whose photographs of the people of Germany catalogued a range of professions, they have documented this community’s rich diversity by photographing actresses, soccer players, scholars, dancers, filmmakers, writers, activists, and others. In each of these compelling portraits, their subjects face the camera with forcefulness and dignity.
- On View, Gallery 4
- Photography and Media
- Zanele Muholi
- Ayanda Mqakayi, Nyanga East, Cape Town, from the series "Faces & Phases"
- South Africa (Artist's nationality)
- Made 2011
- Gelatin silver print
- Unmarked recto; inscribed verso, lower left, in graphite: LUM34587
- Image: 76.5 × 50.1 cm (30 1/8 × 19 3/4 in.); Paper/mount: 86.8 × 60.5 cm (34 3/16 × 23 7/8 in.)
- Art Institute of Chicago, Purchased with funds provided by Artworker's Retirement Society
- © 2011 Zanele Muholi.