Opening on November, Tate Modern hosts the the first major exhibition in the United Kingdom of Zanele Muholi. The show gathers about 260 photographs presenting the full breadth of their career to date. Muholi often describes their* work not as a photographer or a videast but as a “visual activist”. From the early 2000s, the artist documented and celebrated the lives of South Africa’s black lesbian, gay, trans, queer and intersex communities. The following videos, produced by Tate Modern, explores Muholis various aspects of her arts and describer their series.
“In the early series Only Half the Picture, Muholi captures moments of love and intimacy as well as intense images alluding to traumatic events – despite the equality promised by South Africa’s 1996 constitution, its LGBTQIA+ community remains a target for violence and prejudice.
In Faces and Phases each participant looks directly at the camera, challenging the viewer to hold their gaze. These images and the accompanying testimonies form a growing archive of a community of people who are risking their lives by living authentically in the face of oppression and discrimination.
Other key series of works, include Brave Beauties, which celebrates empowered non-binary people and trans women, many of whom have won Miss Gay Beauty pageants, and Being, a series of tender images of couples which challenge stereotypes and taboos.
Muholi turns the camera on themself in the ongoing series Somnyama Ngonyama – translated as ‘Hail the Dark Lioness’. These powerful and reflective images explore themes including labour, racism, Eurocentrism and sexual politics.”
Zanele Muholi – In My World, Every Human Is Beautiful
5 November 2020 – 7 March 2021
Bankside, London SE1 9TG, United Kingdom
The exhibition is organised by Tate Modern in collaboration with the Maison Européenne de la Photographie, Paris, Gropius Bau, Berlin and Bildmuseet at Umeå Universit
*Zanele Muholi sees theirself as a non-binary person, and therefore uses the pronoum “their”. The Eye of Photography wishes to respect this use.a