Zanele Muholi and Steven Cohen

Zanele Muholi and Steven Cohen

Two South African gay artists are making waves internationally, but for very different reasons; one won a prestigious award while the other was arrested for public indecency in Paris.

On 6 September, lesbian photographer Zanele Muholi added yet another award to her expansive list, this time receiving a Dutch Prince Claus Fund Award.

She was awarded 25.000 Euros which she plans to use to buy new equipment, reported

Describing herself as a “visual activist”, Muholi is internationally recognised for documenting black lesbian women in her photographic work.

Meanwhile, controversial openly gay performance artist Steven Cohen caused a stir when he performed a piece dressed as a bird at the Place du Trocadero in the French capital last week Tuesday.

Facing the Eiffel Tower with his genitals exposed to the throngs of tourists, Cohen had a rooster tied to his penis, with the bird ‘leading him’ around the square.

“Frank’s (Cohen’s name for the rooster) a feisty cock and wonderfully capable of deciding the choreography,” the artist told the Sunday Times.

Cohen was arrested by police and was released later that day. He has been charged with sexual exhibitionism and has been ordered to appear in court on 16 December.

“It’s the Day of Reconciliation in South Africa, but the day of judgment for me,” he said to the newspaper.

Cohen explained that his work was “about being pulled in many directions simultaneously” and said that if found guilty he would rather be jailed than pay a fine.

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