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Muholi's exhibition is back to ruffle feathers

By Patience Bambalele | Nov 15, 2012 | COMMENTS [ 43 ]

WHEN Zanele Muholi presented a series of photographs featuring lesbians and gays at Constitution Hill in 2010 the pictures were regarded by certain people as pornographic.

Among those who expressed dismay was former minister of arts and culture Lulu Xingwana, who is now minister of Women, children and people with disabilities. Xingwana defined the photographs as immoral because some pictures portrayed women passionately embracing each other.

Titled Faces and Phases, the thought-provoking exhibition has been a hit internationally. It has toured countries like Switzerland, Italy and Brazil. It recently had a run in Oldenburg, Germany. The exhibition is back on home soil, set to open at the Goethe Institute in Johannesburg on November 27.

Muholi started the concept in 2006 and saysFaces and Phases is a lifetime project that she will continue for as long as she lived.

She says the "Faces" in the title represent the person and "Phases" signify the transition from one stage of sexuality or gender expression and experience to another.

"It is about the multiple identities of all the people who are featured, including me. 'Phases' articulates the pain that the gay and lesbian community experiences due to the loss of friends and acquaintances through disease and hate crimes.

"These portraits also celebrate friends and acquaintances who hold different positions and play many different roles within black queer communities," she says.

Cara Snyman of the Goethe Institute in Johannesburg said: "Zanele Muholi's Faces and Phases is significant work - her frank portraits are arresting and an important statement. The members of the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community, in particular, are quite regularly targets of violent crime. The work looks at the social and political relevance in a society that is still fraught with prejudice, yet remains artistically exceptional."

Muholi explains that the concept is special because it is rare for people to be exposed to so many black-and-white portraits.

COMMENTS [ 43 ]

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I think they are beautiful and poignant and thought provoking. Everything that good art should be.

Nov 15, 2012 9:14 | 0 replies

Shredder

I will go with you boss in this one. While art is a God given talent, we believe that there are certain things that are forbidden, regardless of the kind of religion. Pornography is forbidden in all kinds of religion. Well we don't know with people who are flying kites (have no religion). In general society it is moral degrading to publicly show undressed bodies of adults.

RobinX, it is not only Christians who believe in God.

Nov 15, 2012 8:50 | 0 replies

Lena lereng ke pornography la gafa man! leno lla lege go feta nchi! NXAGA! SIES!

Nov 15, 2012 8:47 | 0 replies

Ga ke kwane le no gay/lesbian. Bo a ntena

Nov 15, 2012 8:45 | 0 replies

@MGEEZ - Their minds are corrupt and they have turned their backs on the truth. To them a show of godliness is just a way to become wealthy.
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Mgeez, before what I quoted it says, "since what may be known about God is plain to them, because God has made it plain to them. For the invisible things of Him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even His eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse "

Nov 15, 2012 8:44 | 0 replies

@DJ-Winner - Look, people convert from straight to lesbian or gay, possible there could be ways of converting them back to straight. We just need to think about it....
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I know one. She was straight then became a lesbian, now she is straight again.

Nov 15, 2012 8:37 | 0 replies

@RobinX - DJW - "conversion" is a misnomer. It's not a religious matter. Your terminology opens the door to notions like "corrective rape" and such disgusting practices.
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LOL. Surely that is not what DJWinner is saying. He might be talking about psychological therapy or medical therapy. From my understanding he doesn't say anything closer to rape.

Nov 15, 2012 8:35 | 0 replies

sowetan uvaleleni kule R50 KA ZOMA

Nov 15, 2012 8:33 | 0 replies

RobinX
DJW - "conversion" is a misnomer. It's not a religious matter. Your terminology opens the door to notions like "corrective rape" and such disgusting practices.
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Well, we cannot promote rape. It is bad and it is a criminal act. There could be good ways of conversions. Look, people convert from straight to lesbian or gay, possible there could be ways of converting them back to straight. We just need to think about it....

Nov 15, 2012 8:33 | 0 replies

@DJ-Winner
RobinX
DJW - "conversion" is a misnomer. It's not a religious matter. Your terminology opens the door to notions like "corrective rape" and such disgusting practices.
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Well, we cannot promote rape. It is bad and it is a criminal act. There could be good ways of conversions. Look, people convert from straight to lesbian or gay, possible there could be ways of converting them back to straight. We just need to think about it....
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DJ. I think it is just a psychological defect. It is up to them whether they want to convert or not. Whatever it is that made them gay or lesbian will make them straight again. I once got involved with a lady. She told me that at some stage in life she almost became a lesbian.

Nov 15, 2012 8:50 | 0 replies

Shredder
Ja, they are pornographic. The Bible says while the knew God, they did not glorify Him as God nor gave thanks to Him, but their thinking became futile. Professing themselves to be wise they became fools. The Bible says "Because of this, God gave them over to shameful lusts. Even their women exchanged natural relations for unnatural ones. In the same way the men also abandoned natural relations with women and were inflamed with lust for one another. Men committed indecent acts with other men, and received in themselves the due penalty for their perversion."
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HALLELUYA! Pastor Shredder.................Preach it without compromise! This is nothing but human profanity.

Nov 15, 2012 8:51 | 0 replies