Zanele Muholi   Only half the picture

29 March - 29 April 2006

Michael Stevenson is pleased to present an exhibition of photographs by Zanele Muholi, the winner of the 2005 Tollman Award. The exhibition coincides with the publication of a book of her photographs by Michael Stevenson and STE Publishers, with support from the French Institute (IFAS).

Trained at the Market Photo Workshop, Muholi came to national attention in September 2004 with her exhibition Visual Sexuality at the Johannesburg Art Gallery. Her work is without precedent in South Africa, where there are very few instances of black women openly portraying female same-sex practices. As a gender and sexual rights activist, and as a photographer, she confronts the notion that lesbian practices are alien to African cultures, and offers a radical break from stereotypical narratives about black female sexualities. She succeeds in transgressing the taboos surrounding black female same-sex practices because of her intimate relationships in these communities, negotiating the boundaries through trust and respect. Her photographs offer a view from the inside, a personal perspective on the challenges facing black lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex (LGBTI) people in the townships and other communities.

Muholi was born in Umlazi, Durban, in 1972 and lives in Johannesburg. She works as a community relations officer for the Forum for the Empowerment of Women (FEW), a black lesbian organisation which she co-founded. She has participated in a number of conferences and exhibitions including Gender and Visuality and Doing Gender at the University of the Western Cape; Visual Culture at the University of Pretoria; World Beyond Words at the Centre for African Studies, UCT; Sexual Rights and Moral Panics at the International Association for the Study of Sexuality, Culture and Society, California, United States; the Klein Karoo and Month of Photography festivals; and, most recently, the South African group exhibition Olvida Quien Soy - Erase me from who I am at the Centro Atlantico de Arte Moderna in Las Palmas de Gran Canaria. She will present a solo exhibition at the Vienna Kunsthalle project space in April 2006.



1. ID crisis, 2003


2. Bra, 2003


3. Sistahs, 2003


4. Kiss, 2003


5. Comfort, 2003


6. Aftermath, 2004


7. Iphondo, 2003


8. Ordeal, 2003


9. Dada, 2003


10. Case number, 2004


11. Hate crime survivor I, 2004


12. Hate crime survivor II, 2004


13. In-security, 2003



14. What don't you see when you look at me I, 2004


15. What don't you see when you look at me II, 2004


16. Mamu, 2006


17. TommyBoys, 2004


18. Zol, 2002


19. not butch, but my legs are, 2005


20. Isibuko, 2005


21. Ekaya, 2005


22. Period II


23. Period IV


24. Period III


25. Period V


26. Period I


27. Untitled, 2006


28. Untitled, 2006


29. Isibuko II, 2005


30. Untitled, 2006


31. Untitled, 2006


32. Self, 2005


33. Independent, 2005


34. Status unknown, 2005


35. Damsel's planet, 2005


36. Untitled, 2006


37. Soul, 2006


38. Kiss me, 2005


39. Flesh I, 2005


40. Flesh II, 2005


41. Flesh III, 2005


42. Reclining figure, 2006


43. Beloved I, 2005


44. Beloved II, 2005


45. Beloved III, 2005


46. Beloved IV, 2005


47. Beloved V, 2005


48. Triple I, 2005


49. Triple II, 2005


50. Triple III, 2005


51. Untitled, 2006


52. Untitled, 2006


53. Closer to my heart I, 2005


54. Closer to my heart II, 2005


55. Closer to my heart III, 2005


56. Closer to my heart IV, 2005


57. Closer to my heart V, 2005


For more information contact +27 (0)21 421 2575 or fax +27 (0)21 421 2578 or email info@michaelstevenson.com.

2005 Michael Stevenson. All rights reserved.