Captured through 260 black-and-white photography portraits, the featured images include those from Muholi’s early project, Only Half the Picture, to their ongoing series Somnyama Ngonyama, which investigates the LGBTQI community’s strength in the face of prejudice, intolerance, and violence.
“It’s about the need of documenting realities of people who deserve to be heard, who deserve to be seen and whose lives are often excluded as part of the Canon,” Muholi told Dazed. “I want people to understand our existence and presence, to say, 'we exist’. So that existence comes with a visibility that is positive.”
The exhibition also features work from Muholi’s series Faces and Phases, where photography subjects directly face the camera, asking for the viewer to hold their gaze. Alongside, the photographer provides a rich archive of testimonies from LGBTQI community members living authentically despite oppression.
“This series is all about questioning, looking deeply. People’s features, their faces, as the major source of the body,” said Muholi last year. “It is a series that allows the person to look back at the camera, the lens, and question the photographer themselves.”
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The Zanele Muholi exhibition is open until May 31, 2021 at the Tate Modern, Bankside, London SE1 9TG. Tickets are £13 available here.