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Saturday, December 9, 2017


(Work by Zanele Muholi)

Photographer and visual activist, Prof Zanele Muholi brings her solo exhibition Homecoming to the Durban Art Gallery.

It will be the first time that she has hosted a solo exhibition in KZN. Muholi is set to stage the biggest exhibition in her home city showing for the first time in the history of her career in Durban. The exhibition will feature five different bodies of work namely Faces and Phases; Somnyama Ngonyama; Love and Loss; M(o)urning and Brave Beauties – cumulatively telling different stories. The exhibition occupies the entire gallery space situated within the 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 LGBT community in South Africa.

Muholi is a visual activist. She was born in 1972 in Umlazi, Durban, and currently lives in Johannesburg. She co-founded the Forum for Empowerment of Women (FEW) in 2002, and in 2009 founded Inkanyiso, a forum for queer and visual / activist media. Muholi’s 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’. She continues to train and co-facilitates photography workshops for young women in the townships.

Muholi has won numerous awards – most recently she has been honoured for her advocacy work with the LGBT community by the French Government when they bestowed upon her the “Knight in the Order of Arts and Letters” recognising her ongoing engagement and creativity in helping to develop the arts and literature in France and abroad.

Her Faces and Phases series has shown at Documenta 13; the South African Pavilion at the 55th Venice Biennale; and the 29th São Paulo Biennial. Solo exhibitions have taken place at institutions including the Mead Art Museum, Amherst; Gallatin Galleries, New York; Open Eye Gallery, Liverpool; Brooklyn Museum, New York; Akershus Kunstsenter, Norway; Einsteinhaus, Ulm; Schwules Museum, Berlin; Williams College Museum of Art.

The exhibition runs until February 28, 2018. The Durban Art Gallery is situated on the second floor of the Durban City Hall, entrance in Anton Lembede (formerly Smith) Street opposite the Playhouse. More information on 031 311 2262/6.