Zanele Muholi: Somnyama Ngonyama, Hail the Dark Lioness
In partnership with and organized by Autograph, London and curated by Renée Mussai
September 12 – December 11, 2020
Zanele Muholi: Somnyama Ngonyama, Hail the Dark Lioness contains more than 70 photographs, wherein Muholi uses their body as a canvas to confront the politics of race and representation in the visual archive. Playfully employing the conventions of classical painting, fashion photography, and the familiar tropes of ethnographic imagery to rearticulate contemporary identity politics. Each black and white self-portrait asks critical questions about social injustice, human rights, and contested representations of the Black body.
The exhibition features four new portraits, commissioned by Autograph, London, three of which highlight the plight of women in the struggle for freedom [of movement] and equality under Apartheid, commemorating a pivotal moment in South Africa’s history—the 1956 Women’s March on Pretoria—when thousands of women of diverse cultural backgrounds united to demonstrate against repressive “pass laws.”
Muholi is a visual activist and photographer based in Johannesburg. Their self-proclaimed mission is “to re-write a black queer and trans visual history of South Africa for the world to know of our resistance and existence at the height of hate crimes in SA and beyond.”