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Zanele Muholi (ZA, b. 1972)
Zanele Muholi is an award-winning South African photographer whose work reflects
black lesbian identity. She has documented stories of hate crimes against the queer
community to bring forth the realities of “corrective” rape and assault in post-
Apartheid South Africa. At -kunstplass 5 she shows 12 portraits from the series "Face and Phases".

In 2010 her Faces & Phases series was included on the 29th São Paulo Biennale;
the series was published by Prestel and nominated as best photobook of 2010
at the International Photobook Festival in Kassel. In 2012 the series was shown on
Documenta 13. Zanele Muholi won the Index on Censorship - Freedom of Expression
art award, it was announced in London on 21 March 2013.

Read Zaneles artist statement her.

Slava Mogutin (SU/US, b. 1974)
Siberian-born artist and writer Slava Mogutin was exiled from Russia for his outspoken queer writings and activism at the age of 21. In 1995, he was granted political asylum in the US with the support of Amnesty International and PEN American Center.
Mogutin is the author of two monographs of photography published in the US and
seven books of writings in Russian. Mogutin’s work has been exhibited internationally
and featured in a wide range of publications including Flash Art, Modern Painters, i-D,
Vice, Visionaire, L’Uomo Vogue, Stern, and The New York Times.

Read Slava's artist statement her.

Slava Mugotins Holy Goat (til venstre) og Zanele Muholis Faces & Phases.

Lill-Ann Chepstow-Lusty (NO/GB, f. 1960)
Lill-Ann Chepstow-Lusty er kanskje mest kjent for sitt prosjekt Gay Kids, der hun har samlet sammen barndomsbilder av en rekke homofile til en fotoserie som både er publisert som bok, og vist i ulike utstillingsrom over hele landet. At Chepstow-Lusty er blitt kjent for et politisk, idealistisk og pedagogisk opplysningsprosjekt er et paradoks, for her snakker vi om en av norsk kunsts enfant terribles. Les mer her.

Fin Serck-Hanssen (NO, f. 1958)
Serien med 10 blå menn var i 1985 Fin Serck-Hanssens første utstilling i Oslo etter at han hadde studert foto i England. I England hadde han kommet inn i homomiljøet via omveier. Han hadde en stor musikkinteresse, som først trakk ham inn i subkulturelle miljøer, og der ifra videre inn i homomiljøet. Kulturelt sett var Serck-Hanssen mer inspirert av punkere og industriell musikk, enn av kommersiell homokultur. Les mer her.

Åtte av Fin Serck-Hanssens 10 bål menn.

Faces & Phases

Artist statement by Zanele Muholi

There is a meaning or interplay to Faces & Phases and why the project focuses on these two words.
I decided to capture images of my community in order to contribute towards a more democratic and representative South African homosexual history. Up until 1994, we as black lesbians were excluded from participating in the creation of a formal queer movement and our voices were missing from the pages of gay publications, while white gay activists directed the movement and wrote about gay issues and struggles. Hence, few of us were present in the forefront, but many operated underground.

I embarked on a journey of visual activism to ensure that there is black lesbian visibility, to showcase our existence and resistance in this democratic society, to present a positive imagery of black lesbians.
Aside from the dictionary definition of what a ‘face’ is (the front of the head, from forehead to chin), the face also expresses the person. For me, Faces means me, photographer and community worker, being face to face with the many lesbians I interacted with from different Gauteng townships such as Alexandra, Soweto,
Vosloorus, Katlehong, Kagiso...

In each township there are lesbians living openly regardless of the stigma and homophobia attached to their lesbian identity, both butch and femme. Most of the time being lesbian is seen as negative, as destroying the nuclear heterosexual family; for many black lesbians, the stigma of queer identity arises from the fact that homosexuality is seen as un-African. Expectations are that African women must have children and procreate with a male partner, the head of the family. That is part of the ‘African tradition’.

Failing to conform to these expectations, we are perceived as deviants, needing a ‘curative rape’ to erase our male attitude and make us into true women, females, real women, mothers, men’s property.

Individuals in this series of photographs hold different positions and play many different roles within the black lesbian community: soccer player, actress, scholar, cultural activist, lawyer, dancer, film maker, human rights/gender activist. However, each time we are represented by outsiders, we are merely seen as victims of rape and homophobia. Our lives are always sensationalized, rarely understood. This is the reason
for Phases: our lives are not just what makes the newspapers headlines every time one of us is attacked. We go through many stages, we express many identities, which unfold in parallel in our existence.

From an insider’s perspective, this project is meant as a commemoration and a celebration of the lives of black lesbians that I met in my journeys through the townships. Lives and narratives are told with both pain and joy, as some of these women were going through hardships in their lives. Their stories caused me sleepless nights as I did not know how to deal with the urgent needs I was told about. Many of them had been violated; I did not want the camera to be a further violation; rather, I wanted to establish relationships with them based on our mutual understanding of what it means to be female, lesbian and black in South Africa today.

I call this method the birth of visual activism: I decided to use it to mark our resistance and existence as black lesbians in our country, because it is important to put a face on each and every issue. Human beings deserve to be treated with love and respect, each and every one of us. My aim was to capture the subtle complexities that challenge our prejudices due to ignorance and hate.

Faces & Phases is about our histories, struggles and lives on this queer mother planet: we will face our experiences regardless what they’ll be, and we still move on.




Copyright: -kunstplass 5