Zanele Muholi, Bayephi III, Constitution Hill Johannesburg (2017)



Zanele Muholi, Bayephi III, Constitution Hill Johannesburg (2017)

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Edition number 70/75 - £600.00 - Out Of Stock

Fundraiser Limited Edition

Product Description

For the 2017 artist commission, Autograph invited South African visual activist Zanele Muholi to produce four new works to commemorate the 1956 Women’s March on Pretoria. A pivotal moment in South Africa’s history, thousands of women from different cultural backgrounds united to demonstrate defiantly against repressive Apartheid regimes - and pass laws in particular - which severely restricted people’s movements and human rights.

The photographs form part of Muholi’s celebrated self-portrait series Somnyama Ngonyama, which translates as Hail, the Dark Lioness from isiZulu. Here, Muholi engages their own body in a new visual grammar that champions socially engaged, transgressive modes of self-representation.

“The 1956 protest was based on women saying, ‘enough is enough; enough with these passbooks’. This artist commission speaks to the women’s struggle in South Africa, and it connects Somnyama Ngonyama directly with black lives and black bodies in incarceration. The images were taken at the Old Fort prison in Johannesburg: a space of confinement, a space where women and other political prisoners were kept during Apartheid, incarcerated for ‘crimes’ such as ignoring pass books, for violating pass laws, or simply for being in the wrong place at the wrong time, etc. The courtyard in Bayephi III was that spot where the prisoners could relieve themselves, temporarily. The space is haunted, by the knowledge of people being brutalised, of blood being shed: you sense it palpably.” - Zanele Muholi

Artist Biography

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. 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).

Muholi has been awarded an Honorary Fellowship at the 2018 Royal Photographic Society Awards and Aperture has received the 2018 Lucie award for Book Publisher of the Year for their work on the artist's latest publication, Somnyama Ngonyama, Hail the Dark Lioness. Muholi was 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). 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; Guggenheim, New York; Museum of Contemporary Photography, Chicago; South African National Gallery, Cape Town; Walther Collection New York/Neu-Ulm; Tate Modern, London; and others. Muholi is represented by Stevenson Cape Town/Johannesburg and Yancey Richardson, New York.

This limited edition has been generously donated to Autograph by the artist as a fundraiser. Autograph is a registered charity in England, all purchases support our arts and learning programmes.

Commissioned by Autograph

Size: A2, 42 x 59.4 cm

Inkjet print on Baryta fine art paper

Edition of 75 + 3 Artist Proofs

Signed and numbered on recto by artist

© Zanele Muholi

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