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Spotlight Artist: Contemporary African Art: Zanele Muholi

Zanele Muholi, Sebenzile, Parktown,2016,From the series "Somnyama Ngonyama (Hail the Black Lioness)",Silver gelatin print


Zanele Muholi born 1972, Umlazi, South Africa

Joyful and courageous, Zanele Muholi photographs Black lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and intersex individuals in South Africa, driven by their intense dedication to increasing the visibility of one of the country’s most vulnerable communities. The artist shares their personal motivations behind an ongoing self-portrait series that allows them to own their voice, identity, and history as a queer Zulu person. From a portrait session in the Johannesburg townships to a gallery opening in Cape Town, Muholi photographs LGBTI individuals, in the hopes of eradicating the stigma and violence that has pervaded queer communities in South Africa. Muholi and the participants in their work stake out their places in the world and demand that their voices be heard.

Links and Readings

Essential Questions

1.• Articulate how this artist empower others in different ways. What do they do? How do these acts affect the people they work with?

• Describe the kinds of events and histories this artist reexamines and analyzes.

• How would you describe the vision this artist has for the future? What kinds of hopes does this artist have for South Africa?



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