And then you see yourself: Zanele Muholi

Norval Foundation, Cape Town, South Africa
02 Sep 2020 - 18 Jan 2020

Installation View, Zanele Muholi 'And then you see yourself'. Photo by Mike Hall.

Installation View, Zanele Muholi 'And then you see yourself'. Photo by Mike Hall.

Zanele Muholi’s self-proclaimed mission is « to re-write a black queer and trans visual history of South Africa for the world to know of our resistance and existence at the height of hate crimes in SA and beyond ».

Norval Foundation presents And then you see yourself: Zanele Muholi, an exhibition exploring the evolution of the South African visual activist and photographer’s practice, from the early 2000s to the present. Opening on 2 September 2020 and running until 18 January 2021, And then you see yourself looks at the most recent Somnyama Ngonyama series through the lens of Muholi’s earlier works. Loosely chronological, a narrative about racial identity through self-portraiture unfolds over two decades, beginning in intimate, domestic, and sacred private space, and shifting to the public domain. The exhibition opens with a video entitled EyeMe (2012), a grid of staring eyes, which sets the tone for a consideration of the nature of seeing and being seen. Intended as recognition of victims of violence, the work was made in the year of the Marikana massacre and other acts of brutality. It highlights the tension between personal vision, legislative witnessing and systemic blind spots. The exhibition follows a path leading from intimate snapshots, portraying personal notions of identity, to the visually refined portraits of a shapeshifting, mythologised subject located in the public imagination. It is a journey from private domain into public sphere.