Zanele Muholi, Only half the picture

BelovedFigureFrom the exhibition website: “Trained at the Market Photo Workshop, Muholi came to national attention in September 2004 with her exhibition Visual Sexuality at the Johannesburg Art Gallery. Her work is without precedent in South Africa, where there are very few instances of black women openly portraying female same-sex practices. As a gender and sexual rights activist, and as a photographer, she confronts the notion that lesbian practices are alien to African cultures, and offers a radical break from stereotypical narratives about black female sexualities. She succeeds in transgressing the taboos surrounding black female same-sex practices because of her intimate relationships in these communities, negotiating the boundaries through trust and respect. Her photographs offer a view from the inside, a personal perspective on the challenges facing black lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex (LGBTI) people in the townships and other communities.”

I am so moved by Zanele Muholi’s photographs. They are candid and tender and don’t feel exploitative like photography sometimes does to me. She has a beautiful eye for same-sex loving relationships among black women. I highly recommend going to the site to view all of the photos–I am not representing the full impact of her work with these two photos. Some are playful, some are serious, but I feel like they all have great integrity. The titles are important!

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