Lesbian Photographers Panel (2013)

Lesbian Photographers Panelists: Carolyn Sherer, Betsy Kalin and Connie Kurtew. Moderated by Angela Brinskele. They share their inspirations, challenges and motivations that drive their work and honor the lives of men and women they photograph. This panel took place alongside the traveling exhibit: Living In Limbo: Lesbian Families In the Deep South by Caroly Sherer, which was on display at the West Hollywood Library of in California in the summer of 2013.


Press release by Michèle Pearson Clarke

From Parade of Champions by Michele Pearson Clarke
Photograph from Parade of Champions by Michele Pearson Clarke, 2015.

About the Exhibition

Parade of Champions explores the grief experiences of three black queer people, following the deaths of their mothers. Although grief is borne from loss of any kind, for an adult child, a mother’s death is incomparable. As universal and inevitable as it might be, this suffering is complicated by the restriction on mourning in our culture. Grief upsets us. It makes us uncomfortable. The bereaved are expected to mourn in private or at the very most, publicly for a short period only. For black queers, already unseen and othered, grieving a mother’s death requires a further pushing back against notions of disposability and invisibility.

Drawing on Clarke’s experience after her mother’s death in 2011, Parade of Champions centres this black queer counter-narrative in creating a poetic encounter with loss. Employing still video portraits and audio interviews, this immersive three-channel installation invites viewers to bear witness to this black queer grief.

WHEN: June 5th–June 28th, 2015
WHERE: Ryerson Image Centre Student Gallery, 33 Gould Street, Toronto, ON
OPENING RECEPTION: June 10th, 5:00–8:00 pm
GALLERY HOURS: Tue, Thu, Fri: 11:00 am–6:00 pm, Wed: 11:00
am–8:00 pm, Sat–Sun: 12:00–5:00 pm
ARTIST TALK: June 10th, 6:00–7:00 pm

From Parade of Champions by Michele Pearson Clarke
Photograph from Parade of Champions by Michele Pearson Clarke, 2015.

Artist Talk

Conversation with the Artist: Michèle Pearson Clarke and Deanna Bowen Join Michèle Pearson Clarke for an artist talk and conversation with interdisciplinary artist and educator Deanna Bowen, about the making of Parade of Champions as well issues related to documenting and bearing witness to the black experience.

WHEN: June 10th, 6:00–7:00 pm
WHERE: Ryerson Image Centre, 33 Gould Street

About the Artist

Michèle Pearson Clarke is a Trinidad-born artist, based in Canada, who works in photography, film, video and installation. Using archival, performative and processoriented strategies, her work explores queer and black diasporic longing and loss. Recent exhibitionMichèle Pearson Clarkes and screenings include We Can’t Compete: A Feminist Art Gallery Satellite Project at the University of Lethbridge Art Gallery, Pleasure Dome New Toronto Works, International Film Festival Rotterdam and Images Festival. While at Ryerson, her research has focused on representations of grief in documentary, and she was the recipient of Ontario Graduate Scholarships in both 2013 and 2014. She holds a BA (Honours) in Psychology from Queen’s University and a Master of Social Work from the University of Toronto. Currently, Clarke is a member of the Feminist Art Gallery board collective and serves on the board of directors at Gallery 44.

From Parade of Champions by Michele Pearson Clarke
Photograph from Parade of Champions by Michele Pearson Clarke, 2015.

Zanele Muholi: Isibonelo/Evidence

Press release by Brooklyn Museum

Exhibition View: photos by Zanele Muholi
Zanele Muholi (South African, born 1972). Faces and Phases installed at dOCUMENTA (13), Kassel, Germany, 2012. (Photo: © Anders Sune Berg)

Brooklyn Museum Presents Zanele Muholi: Isibonelo/Evidence

The largest U.S. Museum Exhibition of the South African Photographer’s Work, May 1, 2015, through November 1, 2015.

Zanele Muholi: Isibonelo/Evidence is the most comprehensive museum exhibition to date in the United States devoted to the critically acclaimed South African artist and activist Zanele Muholi. Through her work in photography, video, and installation, Muholi has dedicated herself to creating visibility for the black lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and intersex (LGBTI) communities of South Africa.

This presentation, which includes eighty-seven pieces created between 2007 and 2014, features the renowned Faces and Phases series, an ongoing portrait project that documents the breadth of identities contained within this community. It also presents Muholi’s video Being Scene, which focuses on intimacy and daily life within her circle. Also featured is the Weddings series, which captures in photographs and video the joyful same-sex unions of her friends.

Born in 1972 in Durban, South Africa, the youngest of five children, Muholi is a tireless community organizer as well as a respected artist committed to sharing the voices of the South African LGBTI community with the wider world. In the Faces and Phases series, in particular, she uses firsthand accounts to speak to the experience of living in a country that constitutionally protects the rights of LGBTI people but often fails to defend them from targeted violence. Muholi is the recipient of several important international awards, including the 2013 Carnegie International Fine Prize.

Zanele Muholi studied at the Market Photo Workshop in Johannesburg in 2003 and held her first solo exhibition at the Johannesburg Art Gallery in 2004. In 2009, she was awarded her Master of Fine Arts degree from Ryerson University in Toronto, where her thesis mapped the visual history of black lesbian identity and politics in post-apartheid South Africa. She began her career as a photographer for an online magazine covering LGBTI issues in Africa. She has researched and documented the stories of hate crimes against the gay community since 2002.

Muholi launched her visual activism with her first solo exhibition, Visual Sexuality: Only Half the Picture, at the Johannesburg Art Gallery in 2004. Since then she has exhibited in Nigeria, Vienna, Cape Town, Milan, London, and Amsterdam and has been included in group exhibitions in Toronto, the Netherlands, Atlanta, England, São Paulo, Lagos, Rome, and various other locations. In 2009, she founded Inkanyiso, a nonprofit organization concerned with visual activism for and on behalf of the LGBTI community. In 2010, she co-directed the documentary Difficult Love, which has been shown around the world. She exhibited Faces and Phases at the Ryerson Image Center in 2014.

Zanele Muholi: Isibonelo/Evidence is organized by Catherine J. Morris, Sackler Family Curator for the Elizabeth A. Sackler Center for Feminist Art, with Eugenie Tsai, John and Barbara Vogelstein Curator of Contemporary Art, Brooklyn Museum.

Exhibition support is provided by Tracey, Phillip, and Enoch Riese

Related Links

Pride and prejudice: How Zanele Muholi documents South Africa’s LGBTI community – an article by BBC Arts, April 2015
Brooklyn Museum Presents Photographer Zanele Muholi’s Isibonelo/Evidence – an article by By T’kay/DapperQ, April 2015

Zanele Muholi at The Photographers Gallery in London

Zanele Muholi at The Photographers' Gallery
Exhibition view; snapshot by Feminine Moments

Zanele Muholi at The Photographers Gallery in London

The Photographers’ Gallery showcase of Muholi’s work is part of a broader exhibition presenting the works of the four shortlistees of the prestigious Deutsche Borse Photography Prize.

Deutsche Börse Photography Prize 2015
17 April until 7 June at The Photographers’ Gallery, London, UK.

There is a difference...
There is a difference between being dying and being killed… Detail of an installation by Zanele Muholi, Photographers’ Gallery, London 2015; snapshot by Feminine Moments.

Zanele Muholi and Inkanyiso

Zanele Muholi is a visual activist documenting the lesbian and queer communities in the South African townships. She makes photos of the individual queer women, their intimate and sensual moments of their deviant love and the funerals of the young women who died as victims of hate crimes (see the above list).

In a video Zanele explains about her work as an visual activist: ‘any person who is interested in learning is welcome to learn how to take photographs. I provide cameras as long as the person will be able to document what then will become a contributions towards Inkanyiso which is the organization that I formed. One cannot do these major projects alone,which is why I invited people to come on board and work with me. And it means that it is not lonely anymore. – I started this project called Inkanyiso to ensure that people wo are featuring in my photographs get a platform to share their own lives and work.’

BBC Arts about Zanele Muholi’s new book:

“Zanele Muholi is being recognised for Faces and Phases 2006-2014. Published in book form by Steidl, it’s an epic and beautiful project comprising portraits of more than 200 black lesbian women and trans men. The black and white images have an eternal gravity, serious and dignified – the absolute opposite of sensational – with the sitters usually at a three quarter angle, yet looking directly into the camera, expressions unsmiling and level.” – BBC Arts

Exhibtion view, Zanele Muholi at The Photographers' Gallery
Exhibtion view, Zanele Muholi’s new book Faces and Phases 2006-2014 in the foreground of the photo,The Photographers’ Gallery, April 2015; snapshot by Feminine Moments

Related Link

Pride and prejudice: How Zanele Muholi documents South Africa’s LGBTI community – an article by BBC Arts, April 2015
Brooklyn Museum Presents Photographer Zanele Muholi’s Isibonelo/Evidence – an article by By T’kay/DapperQ, April 2015


Magic Mirror – Works by Sarah Pucill and Claude Cahun

Magic Mirrors - press photos

Magic Mirror: Exhibition of works by Claude Cahun and Sarah Pucill

Date: Friday, April 17, 2015 to Sunday, June 14, 2015
Opening Hours: Tuesday – Sunday 10am-5pm
Address: Nunnery Gallery, 181 Bow Road, London E3 2SJ, UK

While I was visiting London art writer and editor Anna McNay invited me to join her and  we went to the opening of Magic Mirror, where we met artist Sarah Pucill. Magic Mirror consists of with vintage photos by Claude Cahun from The Jersy Heritage Trust Collection and filmmaker Sarah Pucill’s film Magic Mirror and her photographic works in which she acts, re-enacts and responds to the queer imagery of Claude Cahun’s works. I expecially loved Sarah Pucills cut out stop motion animations which started each ‘chapter’ of her film.

About The Exhibition – Excerpt From The Press release:

‘Nunnery Gallery presents Magic Mirror – a major exhibition of work by French Surrealist artist Claude Cahun and contemporary British artist filmmaker Sarah Pucill. Curated by Karen Le Roy Harris the exhibition runs from 17 April – 14 June 2015 and is part of the Nunnery Gallery’s 2015 In Dialogue season, a year-long exploration of partnerships, artistic inspirations and deeply involved relationships between the artist and the muse. Photographs by both artists will be shown in London, many for the first time.

Sharing an engagement with Surrealism, the layering of Pucill and Cahun’s work embraces the uncanny in relation to the inanimate. Their work explores the idea of a multiple ‘self’ and of looking, as both artists assert a queer gaze between mirror, camera and across two centuries.

 Phtograph by Claude Cahun

Pucill’s film Magic Mirror combines a re-staging of Cahun’s photographs and visualisation of written text from her book Aveux non avenus (Disavowals), transforming Cahun’s work from still to moving image, whilst exploring the relationship between word, photography and sound in film.

Called ‘one of the most curious spirits of our time’ by André Breton, the exhibition will offer a unique perspective on the work of Cahun, who used subversive avant-garde art practice as a form of resistance in Nazi occupied Jersey during WW2.

Cahun (born Lucy Schwob) continually challenged social conformities. Known for her writings she published articles in journals and in 1929 translated Havelock Ellis’ theories on the third gender, which forms part of the gender neutral position Cahun took. ‘Masculine? Feminine? But it depends on the situation. Neuter is the only gender that always suits me’ (Claude Cahun).’

About Sarah Pucill

Sarah Pucill has been making experimental 16mm films since completing her MA at Slade in 1990. Since then her publicly funded films have been screened widely and won awards at major international film festivals as well as being staged in museums and galleries. Her retrospective screenings have included the Tate Britain, BFI Southbank, Ecole des Beaux Arts, Anthology Film Archives (NY), the Millenium, NY and LA FilmForum.

Her feature length film Magic Mirror premiered at Tate Modern in 2013 and has toured internationally with the LUX who published their second DVD of Pucill’s work Magic Mirror in 2014, which followed a compliation of her short films ‘Selected Films 1990-2010‘. She has received Arts Council funding for a second feature-length film that will embrace Cahun’s writing and images in colour. She lives and works in London and is a Reader at University of Westminster.

Anna McNay
Anna McNay at the exhibition with the catalogue and list of works, accompanying Magic Mirror.