Zanele Muholi, Bester II, Paris, 2014. © Zanele Muholi.

Photography: Zanele Muholi

Striking photography seems to be catching my eye at the moment and these images, by Zanele Muholi, fit right into my photography ‘wow’ zeitgeist moment.

Featuring a considerable body of Zanele Muholi’s work, the biography on the Yancey Richardson Gallery website is a good place to click across to if you‘d like to learn more:

Zanele Muholi is a South African artist and visual activist. For over a decade she has documented black lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex people’s lives in various townships in South Africa. Responding to the continuing discrimination and violence faced by the LGBTI community, in 2006 Muholi embarked on an ongoing project, Faces and Phases, in which she depicts black lesbian and transgender individuals. These arresting portraits are part of Muholi’s contribution towards a more democratic and representative South African homosexual history. Through this positive imagery, Muholi hopes to offset the stigma and negativity attached to queer identity in African society.

In a more recent ongoing series, MaID (My Identity) or, read differently, “maid”, Muholi becomes both the participant and the image-maker, as she turns the camera on herself. Experimenting with different characters and archetypes, Muholi’s self portraits reference specific events in South Africa’s political history. Through exaggerating the darkness of her skin tone, Muholi reclaims her blackness, and offsets the culturally dominant images of black women in the media today …

A quick Google search throws up many more links to explore and Zanele Muholi is on both Twitter and Instagram.

I first saw one of her stunning images in a home featured in an interiors magazine but, given the current chaotic condition of my home, I think I might have to wait a while before aspiring to yet more interiors art.

However, I am debating which beautiful art book containing her work should be on my Christmas List this year … or maybe I should just see what Santa decides to leave under my tree 🌲

Zanele Muholi, Zibuyile (Parktown), 2014. © Zanele Muholi.
Zanele Muholi, Zibuyile (Parktown), 2014. © Zanele Muholi.
Zanele Muholi, Thembeka II, London, 2014. © Zanele Muholi.
Zanele Muholi, Thembeka II, London, 2014. © Zanele Muholi.
Zanele Muholi, Pam Dlungwana, Woodstock, Cape Town, 2010 © Zanele Muholi.
Zanele Muholi, Pam Dlungwana, Woodstock, Cape Town, 2010 © Zanele Muholi.

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