Hardback, 27×37 cm
212 pages, black and white photographs
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“Are we not, ethically speaking, obligated to stop its (violence) further dissemination, to consider our role in instigating it, and to forment and cultivate another sense of a culturally and religiously diverse global political culture?”
Judith Butler, from Precarious Life
Zanele Muholi (Umlazi, South Africa, 1972) describes herself as a visual activist: since the early 2000s she has documented and celebrated the lives of the black lesbian, gay, transgender, queer and intersex communities in South Africa.
In the series Somnyama Ngonyama (Hail the Dark Lioness), Muholi turns her lens towards herself and, reserving herself the right to occupy the scene, she explores, through herself, themes such as racism, Eurocentrism, feminism and sexual politics.
365 images representing a year in the life of a black lesbian woman in South African city, still torn by class conflicts and racist politics.
Muholi, in front of the lens, takes upon herself all the injustices suffered by her people, embodying a spirit of revolution, denunciation and propaganda.
Somnyama Ngonyama wants to be a work that stimulates consciences and critical thinking, and it proves to be very useful for us western whites, who, from the height of centuries of Eurocentrism, still think that our civilization has something to teach all the others.
If what we seek is social justice for all the people who live on this planet, a starting point can be the decolonization of the image and the imaginary, historically controlled and guided by a Western, white, masculine and heterosexual vision.
It is from here that Zanele Muholi starts, with the incredibly revolutionary act of occupying space with her inevitably political body.