Photographer Zanele Muholi, South Africa

untitled 2006 by Zanele MuholiFeminine Moments presents Zanele Muholi from South Africa. ‘Her work is without precedent in South Africa, where there are very few instances of black women openly portraying female same-sex practices. As a gender and sexual rights activist, and as a photographer, she confronts the notion that lesbian practices are alien to African cultures, and offers a radical break from stereotypical narratives about black female sexualities. She succeeds in transgressing the taboos surrounding black female same-sex practices because of her intimate relationships in these communities, negotiating the boundaries through trust and respect. Her photographs offer a view from the inside, a personal perspective on the challenges facing black lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex (LGBTI) people in the townships and other communities.’

The photo above is from Zanele’s exhibition “Only half the picture”. It is a very poetic picture and I can imagine the happy chat of two girlfriends as one plaits the pubic hair of the other. How ever her photos are not all poetic, some of her works from the “Only half the picture” show have much more of a visual edge – depicting lesbian tomboys and the artist’s private experiences with her menstrual blood. Some are black and white others are in colour with a subtle reference to black and coloured women and offers us a choice of not only to seeing the lifestyle of the lesbian community in black and white.