Installation view, ‘Both, And’ group exhibition, 2018
Photographic printsZanele Muholi is best known for the ongoing series of selfportraits Somnyama Ngonyama (Hail the Dark Lioness). This body of work, however, is but the most recent chapter in a long career committed to visual activism. The Kabinett presentation consists of three walls of photographs hung salon-style from all of Muholi’s different series. The earliest, Only Half the Picture (2006), confronts the notion that lesbian practices are alien to African cultures. Being (2006 – 2007) comprises intimate portrayals of the daily lives of black lesbian couples in South Africa. Faces and Phases (2006 – present) is an archive of black queer women and transmen and was the first series to gain international attention. Brave Beauties (2006 – present) is its counterpart and consists of glamorous images of transwomen. Mo(u)rning (2012) was produced as a response to a burglary, which also was understood as an attack on Muholi’s visual activism, the lost material including an extensive archive of photos, videos, and texts documenting hate crimes in South Africa. Finally, Of Love & Loss (2013 – present)
documents LGBTQI weddings and funerals, capturing the joy and sadness of a community still affected by vicious hate crimes despite the fact that their right to live openly and marry is protected by the South African Constitution.