On view February 16–April 3, 2016

Zanele Muholi

Zanele Muholi (South African, b. 1972), Somnyama III (Paris), 2014. 
Gelatin silver print, 31.5 x 23.5 in. Mead Art Museum.

This exhibition features a selection of Muholi’s photographs, as well as works on paper by Kentridge and his 2013 film “Second-Hand Reading,” and looks at how the works of Kentridge and Muholi represent their native country’s unfolding history.

Kentridge (b. 1955) and Muholi (b. 1972) create artworks that reflect on the complex history of race and gender in South Africa through distinct media, artistic philosophies and emphases. Muholi’s black-and-white photographs portray South Africa’s lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community through portraits from her Faces and Phases series and recent self-portraits. An activist as well as an artist, she seeks to “re-write a black queer and trans visual history of South Africa for the world.” Kentridge, who has dedicated the last four decades to examining apartheid’s effects on his life and South Africa’s historical memory, deploys a variety of artistic techniques—text, drawing and stop-motion film—to articulate the elusive nature of marking and narrating history.

Muholi studied photography at the Market Photo Workshop in Newtown, Johannesburg, and holds an MFA in documentary media from Ryerson University, Toronto. She cofounded the Forum for the Empowerment of Women (2002) and founded Inkanyiso (2009), both of which serve as forums for queer and visual media. She is the recipient of numerous awards, including the Infinity Award for Documentary and Photojournalism (2016), the Fine Prize for an emerging artist at the Carnegie International (2013) and the Index on Censorship’s Freedom of Expression art award (2013). She lives in Johannesburg.

Kentridge studied at the University of Witwatersrand in Johannesburg, the Johannesburg Art Foundation and L’École Jacques Lecoq in Paris. For his contributions to arts and philosophy he has received numerous awards, among them the prestigious Kyoto Prize (2010), the Oskar Kokoschka Award, Vienna (2008), and the Carnegie Prize. An elected member of the American Philosophical Society and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, he also received honorary doctorate degrees from Royal College of Art, London, Yale University, and the University of Cape Town. He lives in Johannesburg, South Africa.


Exhibition Opening Reception
Tuesday, Feb. 16, 6 p.m.

This exhibition has been organized by David E. Little, director and chief curator, and made possible with generous support from the Hall and Kate Peterson Fund. Special thanks to the Advisory Board of the Mead Art Museum, and to board member Younghee Kim-Wait, Class of 1982, for lending to the exhibition.