Photography : 5 Things To Know About Zanele Muholi
Are you familiar with the work of Zanele Muholi? This South African photographer, to whom the Maison Européenne de la Photographie is dedicating a retrospective from February 1st, defines herself as a visual activist of the black LGBTQIA+ community. Here are 5 things to know about this internationally renowned photographer.
1- It is a non-binary personality
The first of the 5 things to know about Zanele Muholi is that she is a non-binary personality.
The artist, who does not define herself as female or male, wishes to be presented.e by the use of the neutral pronouns iel and ellui.
While he has made a name for himself through his work as a photographer, he is also an LGBTQIA+ activist and this commitment shines through in his work.
2- He/she is a visual activist for the LGBTQIA+ cause
Zanele Muholi was born in Durban, South Africa on July 19, 1972.
He always dreamed of becoming a photographer and completed advanced photography training in Newtown, Johannesburg in 2002-2003, before presenting his first solo exhibition in 2004 at the Johannesburg Art Gallery.
But he is also known for his commitment for over 20 years against racial and homophobic hatred. He readily defines himself as a visual activist for the LGBTQIA+ (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, intersex, asexual+) cause.
Already as part of her master's degree obtained at Ryerson University in Toronto in 2009, Muholi tackled a committed topic: visual representations of black lesbianism in post-apartheid South Africa.
3- Her work documents the lives of the Black LGBTQIA+ community
Since the early 2000s, Zanele Muholi has gained international acclaim for stunning black and white portraits.
Her works, which sublimate bodies and blur the notion of gender, depict LGBTQIA+ identities in post-apartheid South Africa. His photographs document the lives of this community and the individuals within it.
The artist, who uses her camera as a weapon against injustices, seeks to make visible a community often ignored and marginalized because of their skin color and sexual orientations.
Through her individual and group portraits, Muholi questions stereotypes and dominant representations in society.
Going against the trend of pigeonholing individuals, this photographer shows the diversity and uniqueness of members of the black LGBTQIA+ community in South Africa. Her work is also an ode to their courage and dignity in the face of the multiple discriminations these people face.
4- Muholi is one of the most acclaimed artists today
Zanele Muholi's singular and engaging visual world has earned her international recognition, including at renowned photo festivals such as France's Rencontres d'Arles.
Her work has also been multi-awarded since the early 2000s, including receiving the Prince Claus Prize in 2013 and the Infinity Award for Documentary and Photojournalism from the New York International Center of Photography (NYC) in 2016.
In 2013, Muholi was appointed as an honorary professor of video and photography at the University of the Arts in Bremen, Germany.
5- The MEP is dedicating a first retrospective to him in France in 2023
From February 1 to May 21, 2023, the Maison Européenne de la Photographie in Paris is pleased to present the first retrospective devoted to Zanele Muholi in France.
Although the artist has already presented her work in France during the Rencontres d'Arles and in an exhibition at the Muséum du Havre in 2016, and then at the Fondation Louis Vuitton in Paris in 2017, this event is a first in terms of its scope.
The retrospective presented at the MEP indeed brings together more than 200 photographs, videos and installations created by the artist since the early 2000s. Visitors will also be able to discover numerous archival documents covering the entire career of Muholi to date.
This exhibition event is an opportunity to (re)discover one of the most talented and committed photographers of the moment. More information on the official website of the Maison Européenne de la Photographie (link below).