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.
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© 2005 Michael Stevenson. All rights