Zanele Muholi:

Fri 14 Sept 2018 6:30pm

Free, booking essential
Exhibition curated by Renée Mussai

About the EVENT

Join us for the US premier of Autograph's acclaimed exhibition Zanele Muholi: Somnyama Ngonyama, Hail the Dark Lioness.

Be among the first to view the exhibition, and attend a conversation between Zanele Muholi and Renée Mussai, Curator / Head of Archive & Exhibitions at Autograph. 

A reception will be held, and Muholi will sign copies of her new book Somnyama Ngonyama, published by Aperture. 

This program is organized in collaboration with ART PAPERS and Atlanta Celebrates Photography.


440 Westview Drive SW
Atlanta, Georgia 30310

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part of the exhibition

Zanele Muholi: Somnyama Ngonyama, Hail the Dark Lioness

14 Sept - 8 Dec 2018


Spelman College Museum of Fine Art

The only museum in the nation emphasizing art by women of the African Diaspora


Follow visual activist Zanele Muholi on Instagram


Somnyama Ngonyama

Zanele Muholi's new monograph, published by Aperture


In more than 70 photographs, visual activist Zanele Muholi (South African, b. 1972), uses their body as a canvas to confront the politics of race and representation in the visual archive. In Somnyama Ngonyama, which translates to ‘Hail The Dark Lioness’ in isiZulu, Muholi playfully employs the conventions of classical painting, fashion photography, and the familiar tropes of ethnographic imagery to rearticulate contemporary identity politics.

Each black and white self-portrait asks critical questions about social injustice, human rights, and contested representations of the Black body.

About the SPEAKERS

Zanele Muholi is a visual activist and photographer based 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 South Africa and beyond.”

Muholi co-founded the Forum for Empowerment of Women (FEW) in 2002 and Inkanyiso (, a forum for queer and visual (activist) media, in 2009.

Muholi studied Advanced Photography at the Market Photo Workshop in Newtown, Johannesburg, and in 2009 completed an MFA: Documentary Media at Ryerson University in Toronto. In 2013, they became an honorary professor at the University of the Arts/Hochschule für Künste Bremen. Most recently, Muholi was bestowed France’s highest cultural honor, the Chevalier de l'Ordre des Arts des Lettres. They were included in the South African pavilion at the 55th Venice Biennale (2013) and took part in the São Paolo Biennial (2010) and documenta 13, Kassel (2013).

Read More

Recent solo exhibitions include the Brooklyn Museum, New York (2015); Rencontres D’Arles (2016); and Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam (2017). Their photographs are represented in the collections of Centre Georges Pompidou (Paris), the Guggenheim (New York), Museum of Contemporary Photography (Chicago), Tate Modern (London), South African National Gallery (Cape Town), and others. They are represented by Yancey Richardson, New York, and Stevenson, Cape Town/Johannesburg.

Renée Mussai is Senior Curator and Head of Archive & Research at Autograph ABP. As well as developing Autograph's archive and permanent collection of photography, she has organised numerous solo and group exhibitions in Europe, Africa and the US since 2009, and publishes and lectures internationally on photography and cultural politics.

A regular guest curator and former non-resident fellow at the Hutchins Center for African and African American Research at Harvard University, she is presently a Research Associate in the Visual Identities in Art and Design Research Centre, University of Johannesburg and PhD candidate in Art History at University College London. Her publications include James Barnor: Ever Young (2015), Glyphs: Acts of Inscription (2014; with Ruti Talmor) and Black Chronicles (2018).


The Museum’s presentation of Zanele Muholi: Somnyama Ngonyama, Hail The Dark Lioness is made possible by the Wish Foundation and LUBO Fund.

Major funding provided by the Fulton County Board of Commissioners under the direction of Fulton County Arts & Culture. Additional funding provided by the Massey Charitable Trust. Program support provided by the Spelman College Office of the President.

Supported using public funding by Arts Council England
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Banner images: 1) Julile I, Parktown, Johannesburg, 2016 © Zanele Muholi Courtesy of Stevenson, Cape Town/ Johannesburg and Yancey Richardson, New York. 2) Ntozakhe II, Parktown, 2016 © Zanele Muholi Courtesy of Stevenson, Cape Town/ Johannesburg and Yancey Richardson, New York. 3) Bester I, Mayotte, 2015 © Zanele Muholi Courtesy of Stevenson, Cape Town/ Johannesburg and Yancey Richardson, New York. 4) Somnyama Ngonyama II, Oslo, 2015 © Zanele Muholi Courtesy of Stevenson, Cape Town/ Johannesburg and Yancey Richardson, New York/