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Using Portraiture to Explore Identity and Queerness in South Africa

If Zanele Muholi’s series “Faces and Phases” and “Somnyama Ngonyama” have one idea in common, it’s that identity is both powerful and malleable. In the former, which comprises more than 300 photos of black lesbians and queer people in South Africa, identity is bravely expressed in the face of significant danger. Although same-sex marriage is legal in the country and discrimination based on sexuality is prohibited, violence against LGBTQ people is common.
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We Are Like This: Zanele Muholi and Black Lesbians in South Africa, Tonight at UW

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For the past eight years, South African photographer and visual activist Zanele Muholi has taken portraits of queer and transgender individuals in her community. Her project began in 2006, when she first photographed her friend and ...

Giving a Face to Black Queer Identity

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The art of Zanele Muholi confronts what it means to be a black queer woman in a country like South Africa, where a certain sector of cultural and social beliefs authorize the “corrective rape” of gay women.

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