Zanele Muholi’s ‘visual activism’ is being honoured with a prestigious Prince Claus Award, to be presented to the artist in Amsterdam on 11 December 2013. The award was announced by the Prince Claus Fund on 6 September.
Muholi will receive one of 10 awards presented to artists, thinkers and organisations from around the world for their pioneering work in culture and development. The Principal Prince Claus Award will be presented to Egypt’s ‘poet of the people’, Ahmed Fouad Negm.
In honouring Muholi, the Prince Claus Fund acknowledged that she ‘makes powerful, personal portraits of the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) community in South Africa. Her visual explorations of gender, sexuality and race courageously confront social conventions and expose the contradictions between the government policy and the country’s daily reality of violent homophobia.’
The award ceremony on 13 December will take place at the Royal Palace Amsterdam in the presence of members of the Dutch Royal Family.
Muholi has received a number of important accolades for her work. She was recently made Honorary Professor of the University of the Arts/Hochschule für Künste Bremen, an appointment that will be officially celebrated by the university on 28 October 2013. In March 2013 she won the Index on Censorship – Freedom of Expression art award in London; and in August she received South Africa’s Mbokodo Award for Creative Photography.
Her Faces and Phases series is currently on view at the South African Pavilion at the 55th Venice Biennale, on the exhibition Imaginary Fact: South African art and the archive (until 24 November). The series was shown on Documenta 13 in 2012 and on the 29th São Paulo Biennale in 2010.
Current group exhibitions that feature her work include My Joburg at La Maison Rouge, Paris (until 22 September); SubRosa: The Language of Resistance at the University of South Florida Contemporary Art Museum in Tampa, Florida (until 7 December); Glyphs: Photography, Video and the Politics of Inscription at Pitzer College Art Galleries, California (19 September to 5 December); and the 2013 Carnegie International survey of contemporary art, Carnegie Museum, Pittsburgh (5 October to 16 March).
Zanele Muholi was born in 1972 in Umlazi, Durban, and studied photography at the Market Photo Workshop in Newtown, Johannesburg; she has a Master of Fine Arts degree in Documentary Media from Ryerson University, Toronto.