Muholi’s Faces and Phases at Goethe

Muholi’s Faces and Phases at Goethe

The series Faces and Phases of acclaimed photographer Zanele Muholi has returned to South Africa for an exhibition at the Goethe-Institut on 119 Jan Smuts Ave, Parkwood until January 31.

The series was included in dOCUMENTA(13) in Kassel and Oldenburg, Germany from June to September 2012 and co-produced by Stevenson Gallery and the Goethe-Institut.
“In Faces and Phases I present our existence and resistance through positive imagery of black queers (especially lesbians) in South African society and beyond,” explains Zanele Muholi. “I show our aesthetics through portraiture. Historically, portraits serve as memorable records for lovers, family and friends.”

Faces expresses the person, and Phases signifies the transition from one stage of sexuality or gender expression and experience to another. “Faces is also about the face-to-face confrontation between myself as the photographer/activist and the many lesbians, women and transmen I have interacted with from different places,” she adds.
“Phases articulates the collective pain we as a community experience due to the loss of friends and acquaintances through disease and hate crimes.”

The viewer is invited to contemplate questions such as: what does an African lesbian look like? “Is there a lesbian aesthetic or do we express our gendered, racialised and classed selves in rich and diverse ways?” says Muholi. “Is this lesbian more ‘authentic’ than that lesbian because she wears a tie and the other does not? Is this a man or a woman? Is this a transman?”

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