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Homecoming
Ntozakhe II, Parktown, 2016 © Zanele Muholi

Zanele Muholi »

Homecoming

Exhibition: – 28 Feb 2018

Fri 1 Dec 17:00

Durban Art Gallery

Smith Street
4001 Durban

+27-31-3112264


www.durban.gov.za

Mon-Sat 8:30-16

Durban Art Gallery is please to host the solo exhibition of the world renowned photographer ZaneleMuholi for the first time ever in KwaZulu Natal.

Zanele Muholi recently returned from New York with her take over at PERFORMA showing SomnyamaNgonyama and Brave Beauties, the artist is preparing for yet another take over; this time around it is to be witnessed in Durban, South Africa with her HOMECOMING exhibition at Durban Art Gallery which is situated at Durban City Hall. .

Muholi, is set to stage the biggest exhibition in her home city showing for the first time in history of her career in Durban. The exhibition will feature 5 bodies of work which consist of Faces and Phases, SomnyamaNgonyama, Love and Loss, Mourning and Brave Beauties. The exhibition is set to open on the 1st of December 2017 in commemoration with World Aids Day.

This is a ground breaking solo exhibition as it is the first of its kind in Africa with solo artist showing 5 bodies of work telling different stories and occupying the entire gallery space situated at an iconic Durban City Hall.

“I don’t want to always present tragedy from South Africa. I want to show things that are joyous, that makes a person who might have thought of the jungle think of something else.”
Muholi told VOGUE in a recent interview about the diversity of her work.

The exhibition presents evolutions in the artist’s ongoing photographic projects, affirming Muholi’s commitment to activism through visual history. It adds interactive and educational elements, as well as an activism wall that shares experiences from the lives of the Brave Beauties – transwomen and gender non-binary individuals.

This exhibition invites the public to engage with the alternating brutality and joy faced by the black LGBTQI community in South Africa.

The exhibition takes place as the country reaches its 23rd year of democracy, 21 years after the entrenchment of the new South African Constitution and 11 years since the legalisation of same-sex marriage. It is a stark reminder that legal protections are not enough without the social mobilisation and transformation prompted by direct engagement, testifying to the conviction that the work of activism cannot be finished while violence persists

Brave Beauties, a photo-essay featuring transwomen, shows alongside SomnyamaNgonyama (‘Hail, the Dark Lioness’), the body of work confronting the politics of race and pigment in the photographic archive through self-portraiture.

“With the series SomnyamaNgonyama, I have decided to turn the camera on myself. In contrast to my life-long project of documenting members of my black LGBTI community in South Africa and beyond, one in which I normally have the privilege of witnessing participants’ presentation of themselves according to their own self-image, with this new work I have created portraits in which I am both participant and image-maker” says Muholi.

SomnyamaNgonyama (meaning ‘Hail, the Dark Lioness’) is an unflinchingly personal approach she has taken as a visual activist to confronting the politics of race and pigment in the photographic archive. It is a statement of self-presentation through portraiture. The entire series also relates to the concept of MaID (‘My Identity’) or, read differently, ‘maid’, the quotidian and demeaning name given to all subservient black women in South Africa.

“In Faces and Phases I present our existence and resistance through positive imagery of black queers (especially lesbians) in South African society and beyond. I show our aesthetics through portraiture. Historically, portraits serve as memorable records for lovers, family and friends.” Says Muholi about Faces and Phases.

Faces express the person, and Phases signify the transition from one stage of sexuality or gender expression and experience to another. Faces is also about the face-to-face confrontation between myself as the photographer/activist and the many lesbians, women and transmen I have interacted with from different places. Photographs in this series traverse spaces from KwaZulu-Natal, Gauteng and Cape Town to London and Toronto, and include the townships ofUmlazi, Inanda, Alexandra, Soweto, Vosloorus, Khayelitsha, Gugulethu, Katlehong and Kagiso to name a few.

For Muholi, MO(U)RNING evokes death but also suggests the cycle of life as morning follows night. Life and death, love and hate are some of the antitheses that appear throughout her work.

In MO(U)RNING, Muholi presents elements of her documentation that were not lost, together with new work realised in recent months. The exhibition will include new and recent photographs from her Faces and Phases series of portraits.

About Love & Loss;since 2013 Muholi has beendocumenting weddings and funerals in the black LGBTI community in South Africa, joyful and painful events that often seem to go hand in hand. The show features photographs, video works and an installation highlighting how manifestations of sorrow and celebration bear similarities and are occasions to underline the need for a safe space to express individual identities.