Born in South Africa, Zanele Muholi came to prominence in the early 2000s with photographs that sought to envision black lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans, queer and intersex lives beyond deviance or victimhood. Muholi’s work challenges hetero-patriarchal ideologies and representations, presenting the participants in their photographs as confident and beautiful individuals bravely existing in the face of prejudice, intolerance and, frequently, violence. While Muholi’s intimate photographs of others launched their international career, their intense self-portraits solidified it. The illustrations include images from the key series Muholi has produced over the past twenty years, as well as never-before-published and recent works.
This book, and the exhibition it accompanies, presents the full breadth of Muholi’s photographic and activist practice. It features six newly commissioned essays as well as a glossary and chronology.