FotoFocus 2016: Zanele Muholi: Personae

OCTOBER 1, 2016 - JANUARY 23, 2017

South African artist Zanele Muholi refers to her work as “visual activism.” Muholi co-founded the Forum for Empowerment of Women (FEW) in 2002, and Inkanyiso, a forum for queer and visual (activist) media, in 2009. Muholi’s self-proclaimed mission is “to re-write a black queer and trans visual history of South Africa for the world to know of our resistance and existence at the height of hate crimes in South Africa and beyond.”

Zanele Muholi: Personae explores identity in two distinct bodies of work: Faces and Phases, a series Muholi began in 2006 and now comprising more than 300 images, documents the lives of black South African women who identify as lesbians. Somnyama Ngonyama, a series of self-portraits Muholi began in 2015, explores various historical stereotypes, suggested through pose, costume, and gesture. The Freedom Center installation includes a selection of “repeat portraits”—the same sitter photographed over a span of years—as well as videos, updating and complicating the evolving archive.

Zanele Muholi (b. 1972) is the winner of the 2016 ICP Infinity Award for Documentary Photography and Photojournalism.

About the Biennial
The FotoFocus Biennial is a regional, month-long celebration of photography and lens-based art held throughout Cincinnati and the surrounding region. Featuring over 60 participating museums, galleries, academic institutions, and community organizations, the 2016 Biennial will include original FotoFocus curated exhibitions and four days of events and programming, including screenings, lectures, and performances.

The FotoFocus Biennial 2016 Theme: Photography, the Undocument