The first major UK exhibition of South African visual artist and activist Zanele Muholi is coming to the Tate Modern.
Since the early 00s, Muholi has used film and photography as a tool to elevate Black LGBTI people in South Africa. The exhibition will feature 260 photographs, from their very first body of work Only Half the Picture to the ongoing series Somnyama Ngonyama.
Muholi’s work interrogates dominant ideologies and representations, “presenting the participants in their photographs as fellow human beings bravely existing in the face of prejudice, intolerance, and often violence”.
Also exhibited is Brave Beauties, which celebrates empowered non-binary people and trans women, many of whom have won Miss Gay Beauty pageants, and Being, a series of tender images of couples which challenge stereotypes and taboos.
“Talking about photography specifically and the need to capture images of ourselves, of our lives, is not necessarily about beauty per se, it’s about the need of documenting realities of people who deserve to be heard, who deserve to be seen and whose lives are often excluded as part of the Canon,” Muholi said previously.
“I want people to understand our existence and presence, to say, ‘we exist’. So that existence comes with a visibility that is positive,” Muholi added.