Zanele Muholi

South Africa

The work of South African artist and visual activist Zanele Muholi focuses on race, gender and sexuality. Their body of work uses photography, video and installation to document and celebrate the lives of South Africa's Black lesbian, gay, transgender, and intersex communities. The results are bold and confrontational – pointedly addressing race and the politics of pigment – but also tender, beautiful and loving, from self-portraits that explore themes of Blackness and selfhood, to intimate photographs of LGBTQIA+ people of color. Muholi was shortlisted for the Deutsche Börse Photography Prize in 2015. They received an Infinity Award from the International Center of Photography in 2016, a Chevalier de Ordre des Arts et des Lettres in the same year, and an Honorary Fellowship of the Royal Photographic Society in 2018. We featured their work as part of our series “Yes, but why?” made in collaboration with Tate, as curator Kerryn Greenberg explained how and why theirs is so significant.