Zanele Muholi, visual activist

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Zanele Muholi is a South African visual activist. She’s faschinated by LGBTI individuals. Her photographs provide affirming depictions of same-sex intimacy and desires. She’s a reporter for Behind the Mask, an online magazine on LGBTI issues in Africa.

Faces and Phases is a series of more than two hundred portraits of South Africa’s lesbian community. “..2012 was one of the most painful years in our history” said Zanele, for the lesbian community in Africa. Faces and Phases is a sort of human mapping and an archive of wonderful portraits.

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She studied at the Market Photo Workshop in Johannesburg and received an MFA in documentary media from Ryerson University in Toronto. She has exhibited her work internationally, with solo shows at the Johannesburg Art Gallery (2004), the CCA Lagos (2009), and Yancey Richardson Gallery (New York, 2013). Muholi was the 2009 Ida Ely Rubin Artist-in-Residence at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and has received awards for her work, including the Fondation Blachère Award at the Rencontres de Bamako biennial of African photography (2009). In 2002, she co-founded the Forum for the Empowerment of Women(FEW) a black lesbian organization dedicated to providing a safe space for women to meet and organize. She researched and documented the stories of hate crimes against the gay community. In 2010, Muholi co directed her documentary Difficult Love, which was commissioned by SABC. It has shown in South Africa, USA, Spain, Sweden, UK, Amsterdam and Italy.

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