The Galleria del Cembalo hosts, until April 6th, a selection of works by the south-African visual activist Zanele Muholi. Born in Umlazi (Durban), Muholi lives in Johannesburg. 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’.
By taking inspiration from the theatrical language, the artist plays a wide range of characters and archetypes. It is clear from her use of wigs, costumes, everyday objects, clothes pegs as well as metal flakes, straws, coat hangers. In order to strongly re-affirm her identity, she particularly emphasises her physical appearance by darkening her skin and brightening up her lips.
Looking at her eyes in her self-representation, many of us would find themselves in the act of looking away, feeling embarrassed or uneased because of the intensity of her look. Being in front of her photographs requires, first of all, an individual exercise of self-evaluation and a deep analysis towards a person who shows her real inner self in front of the camera and reveals her demands. As if an asynchronous tide, after the first impression comes to the surface another consideration, more rational than the first one: the political reasons behind such an unnegotiable personal sacrifice of her image. To fully understand that, it is necessary to wonder what the physical, social, perceptive, environmental implications are to be part of a minority, as Zanele Muholi states: «You live as a black person for 365 days».
The exhibition has been made in collaboration with Tosetti Value, the Family Office.