Zanele Muholi shows 66 new portraits in this ongoing series which offers an insider's perspective on the lives of the black lesbians and transmen she has met on her journeys as an activist. Collectively, the portraits are at once a visual statement and an archive: marking, mapping and preserving an often invisible community for posterity. Muholi writes:
In the face of all the challenges our community encounters daily, I embarked on a journey of visual activism to ensure that there is black queer visibility. Faces and Phases is about our histories and the struggles that we face. Faces express the person, and Phases signify the transition from one stage of sexuality or gender expression and experience to another. Faces is also about the face-to-face confrontation between myself as the photographer/activist and the many lesbians, women and transmen I have interacted with from different places. Photographs in this series traverse spaces from Gauteng, Cape Town, Mafikeng and Botswana to Sweden.
Muholi was born in Umlazi, Durban, in 1972, and lives in Cape Town. She studied photography at the Market Photo Workshop in Newtown, Johannesburg. In 2009 she was the Ida Ely Rubin Artist-in-Residence at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). Also in 2009 she received a Fanny Ann Eddy accolade from IRN-Africa for her outstanding contributions to the study of sexuality in Africa, and won Casa Africa and Fondation Blachère awards at Les Rencontres de Bamako biennial of African photography. The first part of her Faces and Phases series was published by Prestel in 2010 and received a nomination as best photobook of the year at the International Photobook Festival in Kassel. The series was included on the 29th São Paulo Biennale (2010), and will feature on Face of Our Time at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art (3 July to 16 October 2011). Current group exhibitions include Appropriated Landscapes at the Walther Collection, Neu-Ulm/Burlafingen, Germany (11 June - May 2012), and Figures and Fictions: Contemporary South African Photography at the V&A Museum, London (12 April - 17 July 2011). Muholi's documentary Difficult Love (2010) has been seen - and continues to show - at film festivals around the world.