Press release by Open Eye Gallery

Copyright Zanele Muholi
Lebo Leptie Phume Daveyton Johannesburg 2013 © Zanele Muholi. Courtesy of Stevenson, Cape Town/Johannesburg and Yancey Richardson, New York.


Open Eye Gallery
19 Mann Island
Liverpool Waterfront, Liverpool, UK

Artist Talk: Tuesday 15 September, 6-8pm
Zanele Muholi: Visual Activism / Bethini III
Press View: Thursday 17 September, 12-4pm
Preview Night: Thursday 17 September, 6-8pm

Zanele Muholi

is a South African photographer and visual activist whose work explores gender, race and sexuality, particularly in relation to South African society and political landscape. The exhibition at Open Eye Gallery is the first major presentation of Muholi’s work in the UK.

In 2009 Muholi wrote a thesis mapping the visual history of black lesbian identity and politics in post Apartheid South Africa as part of her MFA in Documentary Media from Ryerson University, Toronto.

Since 2004 Muholi has exhibited extensively worldwide, most recently at the Brooklyn Museum (NYC). She has also taken part in important exhibition platforms such as the 55th Venice Biennale and Documenta 13 in Kassel. She is the recipient of numerous prizes and one of 2015 shortlisted photographers for the Deutsche Börse Prize for her seminal series, Faces and Phases.

Four of Muholi’s projects will be presented across Open Eye Gallery’s three exhibition spaces, accompanied by audio/video interviews and statements from those featured in Muholi’s work.

Faces and Phases (2006–15) is an ongoing series of work, a living and growing collection of portraits. Zanele Muholi embarks on a journey of “visual activism” to ensure black queer and transgender visibility. Despite South Africa’s progressive Constitution and twenty years of democracy, black lesbians and transgender men remain the targets of brutal hate crimes and so-called corrective rapes. More than 200 portraits, accompanied by moving testimonies, present a compelling statement about the lives and struggles of these individuals. They also comprise an unprecedented and invaluable archive: marking, mapping and preserving an often invisible community for posterity.

ZaVa (2013) focuses on Muholi’s relationship with her white partner, and brings the notion of making the private public to the fore. The images show the two of them sharing intimate moments in hotel rooms in various states of undress. The images are soft and gentle, and the viewer is able to get a sense of their relationship, their love for each other, in a deeply connected and meaningful way – not in a detached, voyeuristic sense.

Brave Beauties (2013-2014) is a series of 12 black and white photographs celebrating looking at the body – and the experience of being seen. Stylish, coy, subtle and proud, the gay and transgender men present a personal vision of themselves to the compassionate lens of Zanele’s camera. In a state where expressing the physical self that you want to be adored can lead to aggression and violent persecution, the beauties of the series are even more so for their bravery.

For Muholi, Mo(u)rning (2014) evokes death but also suggests the cycle of life as morning follows night. Life and death, love and hate are themes that run throughout her work. Tragic loss is addressed in this series, the persecution of a community and the coming together to remember those who have passed.

The exhibition is supported by HOMOTOPIA and Stevenson Cape Town.

copyright Zanele Muholi
Somizy Sincwala, Parktown, 2014 © Zanele Muholi. Courtesy Of Stevenson, Cape Town And Johannesburg.



Artist statement:

On the 30th July 2015 Thabo Molefe (47) was sentenced to 22 years in jail for
raping and murdering a lesbian, Lihle Sokhela (28), in 2014, Daveyton,
Johannesburg, South Africa.

Part of my talk will focus on experiences – traumas of documenting hate crimes as a visual activist. I will also talk about the importance of collaborations and collectivism as most of the work that I do is done with participants in my projects and members of Inkanyiso.

Over the past 10 years I have witnessed crime scenes of lesbian murders and attended funerals to document the realities of pain and loss. The presentation will feature visual works from various related events that impact on the lives of black South African lesbians, including how dead bodies are discarded and how those who survive are left disfigured.

In Faces and Phases, photos and quotes from participants are showcased as a way in which we advocate for visibility, resistance and agency, and aims to foster a dialogue informed by the reality of our existence as we continue to experience our lives as citizens of SA, discouraged from living openly, fearing for our safety.

Bathini is a Zulu expression meaning ‘What are they saying?’ which is a question never asked when a black lesbian is ‘curatively’ raped and murdered. The making of Faces and Phases will also form part of my presentation.


Homotopia is an arts and social justice organisation. It draws on the LGBT experience to unite and regenerate communities through the production, promotion and commissioning of great art, heritage and culture for everyone. The Homotopia Festival, which was founded in2004, takes place every November across Liverpool. Throughout the year Homotopia works with international partners, most recently in Finland, Latvia and Germany. Homotopia is funded by Arts Council England as a National Portfolio Organisation and by Liverpool City Council. Festival Dates: 30 October – 1 December 2015 –


Founded in 1977 Open Eye Gallery is an independent not-for-profit photography gallery based in Liverpool. One of the UK’s leading photography spaces, Open Eye Gallery is the only gallery dedicated to photography and related media in the North West of England.(…). As well as presenting a programme of international, high-quality exhibitions Open Eye Gallery houses a permanent Archive containing photographs dating from the 1930s to the present day. The gallery also commissions Wall Works – largescale graphic art installations for the external facade of the gallery.

Light Work Artist-in-Residence Zanele Muholi

Press release by Light Work

Join us for an artist talk by current Light Work Artist-in-Residence Zanele Muholi
Thursday, August 27, 2015 at 7:30pm
Light Work / Watson Theater, Robert B. Menschel Media Center, Syracuse University, NY, USA.

A self-described “visual activist,” South African artist Zanele Muholi, has dedicated her work and life to increasing the visibility of Black lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex people. Despite South Africa’s laws forbidding discrimination based on sexuality, violent crimes against gays and women have in- creased. 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’.

Zanele Muholi has won numerous awards including the Ryerson Alumni Achievement Award, 2015 and the Fine Prize for an emerging artist at the 2013 Carnegie International. Her Faces and Phases series has been shown at Docu- menta 13, the South African Pavilion at the 55th Venice Biennale, the 29th São Paulo Biennale, among others. She was shortlisted for the 2015 Deutsche Börse Photography Prize for her publication Faces and Phases: 2006-14 (Steidl/The Walther Collection). Muholi is an Honorary Professor of the University of the Arts, Bremen.

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Zanele Muholi: Artist Talk and Exhibition in Sweden

Artist Talk

The Hasselblad Foundation is hosting an artist talk by South African queer photographer, artist and activist, Zanele Muholi. The event will take place on September 2, at the City Library on Götaplatsen in Göteborg, Sweden. The conversation will continue with an open lecture on September 3 at Valand Art Academy, Göteborg University.


Silva Dux Eiseb by Zanele MuholiVisual activist Zanele’s photography exhibition Zanele Muholi | We live in fear will be featured as one of the main exhibitions of the Malmö Fotobiennal 2015 – Contemporary Activism. The focus of the main exhibitions September 11 – 20, 2015 is on contemporary artists using the photography media not only for cultural but also for social and political expression. The work presented in the biennale are both dealing with global issues and disclosing introspective photographic projects showing us a wide spectrum of personal engagement. The photography biennale also presents an exhibition Laurence Rasti’s exhibition There are no homosexuals in Iran.


Photo: Silva Dux Eiseb by Zanele Muholi.

Must-See Queer Feminist Exhibitions in Europe this Summer

Edited by Anna McNay and Birthe Havmoeller

Inspired by Kathleen Massara’s list 17 Must-See LGBTQ Exhibitions This Summer in New York and California, Anna McNay and I have created Feminine Moments’ list of Must-See Queer Feminist Exhibitions in Europe this Summer. The exhibitions we have selected for this list feature works by Lesbian, Bisexual and Queer Women Artists. The first one on the list, Tamara de Lempicka in Turin, Italy, scores very highly on the red-lips-and-nice-tits-scale (!)
Some of the other exhibitions are more “queer” and some of the women artists are very subtle or academic in the way in which they integrate the queer/homosexual/political queer feminist in their creative practice. All the group exhibitions are mixed, so these exhibitions include works by gay male artists too – the most interesting are perhaps the gay artists from China who will be presented at the Antwerp Queer Arts Festival at the beginning of August.

Tamara de Lempicka

Dates: March 19 – August 30, 2015
Venue: Palazzo Chiablese, Turin, Italy
The exhibition features more than 80 works by the bisexual Polish artist Tamara de Lempicka (1898-1980). It not only showcases de Lempicka’s most iconic erotic paintings of women, it also features erotic drawings, lots of sensual vintage Hollywood-style photographs of the artist and a series of her photographs of nude models. The exhibition gives you the opportunity to discover new aspects of Tamara’s life and artistic career.
Curator: Gioia Mori

Patricia Cronin: Shrine for Girls

Dates: May 9 – November 22, 2015
Venue: Chiesa di San Gallo, Venice, Italy
In her site-specific installation Shrine for Girls, New York-based lesbian artist Patricia Cronin (US, 1963) commemorates three horrendous events: the rape, murder and hanging from trees of three girls in India in June 2014 (the “mango tree rape case”); the kidnapping of 276 female students by the jihadist militants of Boko Haram in Nigeria in April 2014; and the many young women pushed into forced labour in the Magdalene asylums and laundries in Europe and North America from the late-18th century to as recently as 1996. The installation is a collateral event of the Venice Biennale, presented by The Brooklyn Rail Curatorial Projects.
Curator: Ludovico Pratesi

Cabello/Carceller, Francesc Ruiz, Pepo Salazar + Salvador Dalí:

Los Sujetos (The Subjects)

Dates: May 9 – November 22, 2015
Venue: Spanish Pavilion, 56th Venice Biennale, Venice, Italy
Artistic duo Cabello/Carceller was formed in 1992 by Helena Cabello (FR, 1963) and Ana Carceller (ES, 1964). Alongside Francesc Ruiz and Pepo Salazar, they are this year’s Spanish offering at the Venice Biennale, in a group exhibition that seeks to reinterpret and reposition Salvador Dalí from a contemporary perspective, exploring the artist as he is known through his words and his interviews. Cabello/Carceller’s work is a site-specific installation entitled The State of the Art _a performative essay. Incorporating elements of performance, film and installation, the work is rooted in feminist methodologies ,queer theory and the Brechtian aesthetic, offering a critical insight into the definition of identity and the political fight of the individual.
Curator: Martí Manen

Here We LTTR: 2002–2008

Dates: May 23 – September 27, 2015
Venue: Tensta Konsthall, Spånga, Sweden
‘A border-crossing approach that is characteristic for queer feminism, a feministic movement that is not so easy to define.’ This exhibition brings together the archives of LTTR, a feminist, genderqueer artist collective, originally based in New York in the 2000s. The collective – whose acronym LTTR can be read in various ways, including Lesbians To The Rescue, Listen Translate Translate Record, Lesbians Tend To Read and Lacan Teaches To Repeat – catalysed a vibrant queer community through collaboration, discourse, journal making and distribution. The collective’s groundbreaking work, including the five issues of the journal, as well as photographs and other documentation of its social energy, is being exhibited for the first time at Tensta Konsthall, where local and international guests connected to LTTR and queer art, activism, and research, will guide a series of walk-throughs.

Homosexuality_ies / Homosexualität_en

Poster: Homosexuality_ies, courtesy of Schwules Museum*Dates: June 26 to December 1, 2015
Venues: Schwules Museum* and the Deutsches Historisches Museum, Berlin, Germany
Homosexualität_en shows how same-sex sexuality and non-conformist gender identities have been criminalised and socially repressed and it tells the story of the LGBT liberation movement. The section of the exhibition on view at the Deutsches Historisches Museum focuses on historical developments in the fields of society, politics, art, law and science since the “discovery” of homosexuality in the mid-19th century. The section of the exhibition on view at the Schwules Museum* consists of contemporary artworks and addresses the present and future of gender codes and sexualities. Participating artists: Monica Bonvicini (IT/DE), Louise Bourgeois (FR/US), Heather Cassils (CA/US), Michael Elmgreen (DK) and Ingar Dragset (NO), Nicole Eisenman (FR/US), Lotte Laserstein (DE/SE), Lee Lozano (US), Jeanne Mammen (DE), Zanele Muholi (ZA), Henrik Olesen (DK), Andy Warhol (US), Mary Coble (US/SE), Sturtevant (US), Sam Taylor-Johnson (UK) and others.
Curators: Dr. Birgit Bosold, Dr. Dorothée Brill and Detlef Weitz
[Poster: Homosexuality_ies. Photo credits: Heather Cassils and Robin Black ]


Dates: June 17 – July 31, 2015
Venue: Thessaloniki City Hall, Thessaloniki, Greece
The concept of otherness, of the strange or the different is inherent within our identity. In an age that has seen a rise in neo-conservatism, racist, homophobic, lesbophobic and transphobic behaviours, attacks against women and discrimination based on race, nationality, sexual orientation and gender identity, Ident-alter-ity is a group exhibition addressing the issues of gender and self-determination. The exhibition is a part of the 5th Thessaloniki Biennale of Contemporary Art. Participating artists: Lynda Benglis (US), Ursula Biemann (CH), Pauline Boudry and Renate Lorenz (CH-DE/DE), Marianne Darlen Solhaugstrand (NO), Yevgeniy Fiks (RU/US), Kostis Fokas (GR/UK), Hector de Gregorio (UK), Igor Grubic (HR), David Hockney (UK), Deborah Kelly & Tina Fiveash (AU), Majida Khattari (MA/FR), Carlos Motta (CO/US), Slava Mogutin (RU/US), Natasha Papadopoulou (GR), Antonis Protopatsis (GR), Wolfgang Tillmans (DE/UK), Boryana Rossa – Oleg Mavromatti (BG/US-RU), Milica Tomic (RS).
Curators: Theodore Markoglou, Art Historian – Curator at the State Museum of Contemporary Art and Syrago Tsiara, Art Historian – Director of the Contemporary Art Center of Thessaloniki

Pauline Boudry and Renate Lorenz: Loving, Repeating

copyright Stephan Wyckoff/Kunsthalle WienDates: June 11 – October 4, 2015
Venue: Kunsthalle Wien, Vienna, Austria
The queer artist duo Pauline Boudry (CH-DE, 1972) and Renate Lorenz (DE, 1963) present three video-based works and a series of new sculptures, which make up an atmospheric, time-reflective installation as part of Future Light, the visual arts part of the Vienna Biennale 2015. Pauline Boudry and Renate Lorenz create video performances, making use of a dense net of references to experimental film, the history of photography and underground (drag-) performance.
Curator: Maria Lind, Director Tensta Konsthall, Stockholm
[Press photo: Installation view: Future Light. Pauline Boudry / Renate Lorenz. LOVING, REPEATING, Kunsthalle Wien 2015, Photo: Stephan Wyckoff ]

Criss-crossing Connections. Mette Winckelmann and Concrete Art

Dates: June 20 – August 30, 2015
Venue: Sorø Kunstmuseum, Sorø, Denmark
The 100th anniversary of the amendments to the Danish constitution, which introduced democracy and women’s right to vote in Denmark, has prompted the Sorø Art Museum to cast a critical eye on its own collection and the power structures it represents. Artist and lesbian Mette Winckelmann (DK, 1971) was invited to evaluate the museum’s collections and to reflect on its concrete art acquisitions from the 1950s. She responded by drawing many connections – some obvious, some startling – which linked the collection to various paintings, sketches and textile works from other collections. This web of connections is criss-crossed by links to some of Winckelmann’s own works, which take a dual point of departure in abstract geometric imagery and in classic techniques from textile work.
Curators: Helle Brøns, Sorø Kunstmuseum and Mette Winckelmann

Agnes Martin

Dates: June 3 – October 11, 2015
Venue: Tate Modern, London, UK
This is the first retrospective exhibition of works by Canadian-born painter Agnes Martin (1912-2004) since 1994. The exhibition spans Martin’s entire career, from her figurative paintings of the early 1950s to her grid-based works and line drawings just before her death in 2004. Agnes identified with the Abstract Expressionists, and was born in the same year as Jackson Pollock, but her commitment to linear geometry caused her to be associated in turn with Minimalist, feminist, and even outsider artists. She vehemently denied being a feminist, however, as well as a lesbian (numerous relationships with fellow women artists are known to have taken place) and, at one point, even a woman. Agnes was headhunted in 1957 by gallerist and lesbian Betty Parson, who became her first dealer. Her career was punctuated by episodes of schizophrenia.
Curators: Tiffany Bell and Frances Morris

Claude Cahun – Photographies, dessins, écrites

Claude Cahun Programme coveDates: July 3 – October 31, 2015
Venue: Médiathèque Jacques Demy, Nantes, France
The experimental self-portraits by surrealist artist Claude Cahun (1894-1954), born a native of Nantes, under the name of Lucy Schwob, have gained international recognition and have been exhibited around the world. This exhibition, however, presents not just her photographs but also her graphic works, publications and letters.
Curators: Claire Lebossé and Marion Chaigne
[Cover of the programme by Médiathèque Jacques Demy]

Claude Cahun and Marcel Moore – A Life Defiant

Dates: March 15 – September 6, 2015
Venue: Jersey Museum and Art Gallery, Jersey, UK
French artists and lesbians Claude Cahun (1894-1954) and Marcel Moore (1892-1972) challenged the boundaries of gender and sexual identity, campaigned against tyranny and resisted Nazi occupiers. They created some of the most startlingly original and enigmatic photographic images of the 20th century. They were an extraordinary couple, who lived, loved and worked together for more than 30 years. For the first time this exhibition examines their history of defiance, from the forming of their lesbian relationship in the early 1900s, through Claude’s exploration of her self-image and multiple personalities in conservative post-war France, to her anti-Fascist political protests of the 1930s and anti-Nazi resistance activities of the 1940s.
Organiser: The Jersey Heritage Trust

Germaine Krull (1897-1985) – Un destin de photographe

Dates: June 2 – September 27, 2015
Venue: Jeu de Paume, Paris, France
From nudes to surreal collage, street scenes to portraits, a new exhibition charts the astonishingly modern work of maverick photographer Germaine Krull (1897-1985). A pioneer of photojournalism, bisexual Germaine moved across Europe in the 1920s and 30s, mixing with left-leaning intellectuals and pushing boundaries, both in her work and as a woman. Germaine then settled in Paris where she worked in the 1930s. After serving as a war photographer from 1943–45, she moved to Thailand and then settled in India, where she converted to Buddhism and worked to preserve its cultural heritage.
Curator: Michel Frizot

Nicola Tyson: Goodbye/Hello

Dates: June 10 – July 25, 2015
Venue: Nathalie Obadia, Paris, France
Lesbian artist Nicola Tyson (UK/US) is primarily known as a painter, however drawings are also central to her creative practice. The absurd has always been an important ingredient in her work: humour veering toward the satirical and often the hysterical. In Self-portrait: Weeping (2015), the artist references Picasso’s crying woman, but here it is her own experience that she describes. Nevertheless, her nose seems to double as a penis, literally ejaculating into her face.
Organiser: Nathalie Obadia

Pride Photo Award

Dates: July 31 – August 19, 2015
Venue: Foam Café, Foam, Keizersgracht 609, 1017 DS Amsterdam, Holland
Pride Photo Award is celebrating its fifth anniversary this year. This photography exhibition at Foam challenges mainstream gender stereotypes by showcasing photographs from the previous four editions of the Pride Photo Award exhibition. The works, which show the diversity of LGBT communities and counterbalance the often one-sided images of lesbians, gays, bisexuals and transgender people in the media, are made by photographers and artist who consider sexual and gender identity an important, often personal subject. Participating artists: Erica Beckman (US), John Paul Evans (UK), Mads Nissen (DK), Farida de Pauw (UK), Chris Rijksen (NL), Anna Charlotte Schmid (DE), Hinda Schuman (US) and Aldo Soligno (IT).
Curator: Kim Knoppers

Antwerp Queer Arts Festival – Queer Art in China

Poster, Antwerp Queer Arts FestivalDates: August 2 – 9, 2015
Venue: Verbeeck-Van Dyck, Antwerp, Belgium
This summer, the gallery Verbeeck-Van Dyck and Antwerp Queer Arts Festival will present a Chinese LGBT art exhibition. Participating artists are: Yuan Yuan, Xiyadie AKA the Siberian Butterfly, Shi Tou & Ming Ming, Xu Yadong, Huang Yue and Flour. Chinese filmmaker and photographer Yuan Yuan specialises in conceptual photography, combining photography and contemporary art to make her pictures about gender identity.
Organiser: Antwerp Queer Arts Festival
[Antwerp Queer Arts Festival, poster 2015]

Must See Exhibition in Berlin – ‘Homosexuality_ies’

Poster: Homosexuality_ies, courtesy of Schwules Museum*
Poster: Homosexuality_ies, courtesy of Schwules Museum*

Homosexuality_ies / Homosexualität_en

June 26 to December 1, 2015
at Schwules Museum* and the Deutsches Historisches Museum in Berlin, Germany.

The exhibition shows how same-sex sexuality and non-conformist gender identities have been criminalized and socially repressed and tells the story of the LGBT liberation movement. The section of the exhibition on view at the Deutsches Historisches Museum focuses on historical developments in the fields of society, politics, art, law and science since the “discovery” of homosexuality in the mid-19th century. The section of the exhibition on view at the Schwules Museum* consists of contemporary artworks and addresses the present and future of gender codes and sexualities.

The international artists included in this must see LGBT exhibition are Monica Bonvicini, Louise Bourgeois, Heather Cassils (see the above poster), Michael Elmgreen & Ingar Dragset, Nicole Eisenman, Lotte Laserstein, Lee Lozano, Jeanne Mammen, Zanele Muholi, Henrik Olesen, Andy Warhol, Mary Coble and others. Alongside Homosexuality_ies there is also an big film programme.

Related Link

Exhibition flyer