About this artwork
A self-described “visual activist,” Zanele Muholi aims—in both her photographs and social activism—to redefine the face of Africa and combat violence against the LGBT community. In 2006 she 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 her 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, she has documented this community’s rich diversity by photographing actresses, soccer players, scholars, dancers, filmmakers, writers, activists, and others. In each of these compelling portraits, her subjects face the camera with forcefulness and dignity.
Currently Off View
- Photography and Media
- Zanele Muholi
- Refilwe Mahlaba, Thokoza, Johannesburg
- South Africa
- Made 2010
- Gelatin silver print, from the series "Faces & Phases," edition 6/8
- No markings recto; inscribed verso, lower left, in graphite: "LUM34586"
- 76.5 × 50.1 cm (image); 86.8 × 60.5 cm (paper/mount)
- Comer Foundation Fund
- © 2010 Zanele Muholi.