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Zanele Muholi



Zanele Muholi FRPS (born 19 July 1972) is a South African artist and visual activist working in photography, video, and installation. Muholi's work focuses on race, gender and sexuality with a body of work that dates back to the early 2000's, documenting and celebrating the lives of South Africa's Black lesbian, gay, transgender, and intersex communities. Muholi is non-binary and uses they/them pronouns, explaining that they "identify as a human being."[1][2]

Muholi was shortlisted for the Deutsche Börse Photography Prize in 2015. They received an Infinity Award from the International Center of Photography in 2016, a Chevalier de Ordre des Arts et des Lettres in 2016, and an Honorary Fellowship of the Royal Photographic Society in 2018.

A photographer and self-proclaimed visual activist, Zanele Muholi explores Black queer identity in contemporary South Africa. Muholi first rose to prominence with their series “Faces and Phases,” for which they shot hundreds of sensitive portraits of women, many from South Africa, and challenged the country’s accepted rhetoric that homosexuality is un-African. The Durban-born, Johannesburg-based artist has enjoyed solo exhibitions at Tate Modern in London, Fotografiska in Stockholm, the Brooklyn Museum, and the Stedelijk Museum in Amsterdam, among other institutions. Muholi represented South Africa at the 2013 Venice Biennale and showed as part of the international exhibition in 2019. Muholi also delved into self-portraiture with their “Somnyama Ngonyama” (“Hail the Dark Lioness”) series, which explores themes of racism, sexuality, and the politics of possessing a Black body.

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