Groundbreaker Zanele Muholi takes New York


South African LGBTQ photographer and visual activist Zanele Muholi is heading to the USA to take on the New York art scene.

Muholi recently wowed the Netherlands with her work, becoming the first black artist to have a solo show at the Stedelijk Museum.

Now, from 1 to 19 November, she will be featured in the seventh edition of the Performa Biennial, which will be held at locations throughout New York City.

Performa is an internationally acclaimed organisation dedicated to art and live performance across disciplines.

Muholi will show three of her series at the event. These include: Brave Beauties, a photo-essay featuring gender-nonconforming pageant winners and transgender woman; Somnyama Ngonyama (Hail, The Dark Lioness), the body of work confronting the politics of race and pigment in the photographic archive though self-portraiture, and; Faces and Phases, the portrait series looking at black South African lesbian and transgender individuals.

In a recent article in The Guardian, published in recognition of her acclaimed exhibition at Autograph ABP in London, the Johannesburg-based Muholi remarked:

“I always think to myself, if you don’t see your community, you have to create it. I can’t be dependent on other people to do it for us.’ It is a continuing resistance ‘because we cannot be denied existence. This is about our lives, and if queer history, trans history, if politics of blackness and self-representation are so key in our lives, we just cannot sit down and not document and bring it forth.”

The groundbreaker will be taking part in various events, talks, lectures and exhibitions in the US before the Performa Biennial.

Muholi has exhibited work at Fondation Louis Vuitton in Paris; the Kyotographie International Photography Festival in Japan; Prince Claus Fund Gallery in Amsterdam; the Berlin Biennale; Documenta 13 in Germany; the South African Pavilion at the 55th Venice Biennale in Italy; the 29th São Paulo Biennial, the Vitra Design Museum in Weil am Rhein and the Guggenheim Bilbao, among other museums and institutions.

Image: Xiniwe II at Cassilhaus, North Carolina, 2016 by Zanele Muholi

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