The Zeitz Museum of Contemporary Art Africa opened at the Grain Silo Complex at the V&A Waterfront. Zeitz MOCAA is a public not-for-profit art museum which collects, preserves, researches and exhibits 21st century art from African and its Diaspora. The aim is to guarantee access for all allowing South Africa's free access on Wednesdays from 10h00 to 13h00 and free access on Museum nights from 17h00 to 22h00. The museum stretches over 9 floors and houses over 100 galleries.
Even if you're not an art lover, just to see how these silos were transformed is an experience in its own. But this is not a blog about the Zeitz MOCAA and it architectural brilliance or the vast collection of exquisite (and questionable) art but about some inspiration that stirred my artist heart:
Somnyama Ngonyama/Hail the Dark Lioness is a exhibition by Zanele Muholi of black and white photographs on silver gelatine. In this body of work Muholi turns the camera on herself to as she depicts various personas in different part of the world. She engages in issues of race, politics and gender, drawing from personal experiences to create a very personal body of work.
Muholi started this body of work in 2014 with the aim to create 365 shots. In a interview with the Gaussian the stated: 'You live as a black person for 365 days, there are a lot of events and experiences that up go through in a year. I wanted to map those important or specific moments'
Some of her work delves into very personal experiences like Julile I, where the inflated plastic bags represent the large fibroids she had removed from her uterus. While other pieces comment out South Africa and it's history and troubles.
Zanele Muholi is a self proclaimed visual activist. She was born in Durban and now lives in Johannesburg. She co-founded the Forum for Empowerment of Women (FEW) in 2002 and in 2009 founded Inkanyiso, a forum for queer and visual (activist) media.
Her mission - "To re-write a black queer and trans visual history of South Africa for the world to know of our resistance and the existence at the height of hate crimes in SA and beyond.
Muholi studies Advanced Photography at the Market Photo Workshop in Newtown, Johannesburg, and in 2009 completed an MFA: Documentary Media at Ryerson University, Toronto. She is an Honorary Professor at the University of the Arts Bremen and continues to train and co-facilitate photography workshops for young women in the townships.
As I walked through Muholi's exhibition I was firstly blown away by the beautiful printing and the beautiful way she captured light. But I also felt like I was allowed into a world that I have not experienced. And while there is a continuous theme of enduring pain, there is also a a strength and defiance in her eyes.