Zanele Muholi (b. 1972), Sebenzile, 2020
Acrylic, beads and woodcut on board
89.5 x 59.5 cm. (image)
92.6 x 62.6 cm (framed)
£38,000 plus ARR and any applicable taxes
In 2020, being confined indoors with limited movements and access to materials, South African visual activist Zanele Muholi, best known for chronicling South Africa's Black trans, queer and intersex communities in photography, turned to paintings and beads as the chosen medium to communicate their message and continue with activism, using self as a tool of representation.
In Muholi's paintings, unlike their photographs, colour plays a starring role. Costumery and vibrant colour are harnessed to explore the multiplicity of gender roles and representation. This body of work channels the collective isolation, intimacy, and confinement brought about by the Covid-19 pandemic, but also deeply personal. For the artist, painting surfaced as both a practical response and a contemplative exercise during a time of fear and uncertainty. Across photography and painting, Muholi plays the roles of participant and image-maker, augmenting ideas around self-representation, collective identity and Black queer visibility.
“These works ask me what it means to be present. I want people to see themselves differently through them too... We are in changing times, the world will have to start afresh, so these become a visual memoir so that those who come after us–seeing when and where these were produced–can get answers about how we lived, what we thought about and our circumstances.”-Zanele Muholi.
Acquired directly from the artist by the present owner