Advertisement

Zanele Muholi: Pride in showing her work, and her self

Visiting and participating in Toronto’s 2014 WorldPride celebrations from her home city of Johannesburg, visual activist and photographer Zanele Muholi is committed to sharing her photography with the world. Zanele Muholi and Stevenson Cape Town/Johannesburg

To Zanele Muholi, Pride means more than feathered boas and all-night parties.

It’s a chance for the visual activist and photographer to make her stamp in history.

“I come from South Africa where hate crimes are still a big issue that need to be dealt with accordingly. Persecution of homosexuals is still ripe,” she said.

Visiting and participating in Toronto’s 2014 WorldPride celebrations from her home city of Johannesburg, Muholi is committed to sharing her photography with the world.

“I am here for networking but also to be given the chance to showcase some of my own work,” she said.

Muholi’s powerful photography has often been the target of discrimination and persecution.

“In some places in Africa, you can’t showcase visuals with homosexual content.”

Story continues below advertisement

READ MORE: WorldPride

For the past month, Muholi’s photography was featured in an exhibition called Imagerie précaire, visibilité gay en Afrique (Precarious Imaging: Visibility and Media Surrounding African Queerness) in Dakar, Senegal.

The exhibit showcased work from artists in the LGBTQ community – a daring move in a country where homosexual activity remains illegal.

A group of religious fundamentalists attacked the Dakar center where the exhibit was presented. Soon after, the Senegalese government shut down the art show and ruled exhibitions displaying homosexual content will be closed or cancelled.

“I can’t imagine having WorldPride in Africa,” Muholi said. “Toronto is progressive. It’s a place for those who seek refuge because of what they went through in their countries. People are welcomed to express themselves.”

For the next nine days, Toronto will host many international artists like Muholi. The WorldPride arts and culture festival features over 300 different events that highlight the LGBTQ community.

READ MORE: Melissa Etheridge, Tegan and Sara among WorldPride performers

Toronto Pride executive director Kevin Beaulieu says WorldPride is celebration grounded in human rights.

“We have built a strong successful LGBT community over generations. WorldPride will give people a chance to reengage on an international scale,” he said.

Story continues below advertisement

And, for Muholi, WorldPride is paving the way for future generations.

“[WorldPride] is filled with people who have seek refuge because of what they went through in their countries. People are welcomed to express themselves, where some states in Africa are not welcoming.”

Zanele Muholi: Faces and Phases is on view at the Ryerson Image Centre until Aug. 24.

14
Zanele Muholi, Mpumi Moeti, Kwanele South, Katlehong, Johannesburg, 2012, gelatin silver print. © Zanele Muholi and Stevenson Cape Town/Johannesburg
24
Zanele Muholi, Zizima Kom, Embekweni, Paarl, Cape Town, 2011, gelatin silver print . © Zanele Muholi and Stevenson Cape Town/Johannesburg
34
Nosi 'Ginga' Marumo, Yeoville, Johannesburg, 2007, gelatin silver print . © Zanele Muholi and Stevenson Cape Town/Johannesburg
44
Zanele Muholi, Zanele Muholi, Vredehoek, Cape Town, 2011, gelatin silver print. © Zanele Muholi and Stevenson Cape Town/Johannesburg

 

Advertisement

Sponsored content