Event Title

Queering the Grid: Zanele Muholi’s Archival Project

Location

King Building 101

Document Type

Presentation

Start Date

4-27-2018 5:30 PM

End Date

4-27-2018 6:50 PM

Abstract

This paper focuses on the display practice of contemporary South African photographer and visual activist Zanele Muholi’s (b. 1972) extensive photographic archival project, Faces and Phases. The series documents South Africa’s black queer community which has continued to be stigmatized and threatened even with the progressive legislature of the post apartheid constitution. I will examine specific curatorial strategies used for Faces and Phases in order to understand the subversive qualities of the series as a postcolonial archive. Using queer theory, I will consider the display of Muholi’s archive as a queering of the colonial archival projects that have dominated South African visual history. Case study exhibitions from around the world of Muholi’s work will be compared to other artist reimaginings of the archive such as Santu Mofokeng’s The Black Photo Album / Look at Me 1890-1950, and examined individually in order to establish the affect of display on photographic archival projects.

Keywords:

queer theory, South Africa, photography, archives, identity

Notes

Session VII, Panel 17 - Cultural | Producers
Moderator: Afia Ofori-Mensa, Assistant Dean and Director of Undergraduate Research, Assistant Professor of Comparative American Studies and Africana Studies

Major

Art History

Advisor(s)

Matthew Rarey, Art History

Project Mentor(s)

Matthew Rarey, Art History

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Apr 27th, 5:30 PM Apr 27th, 6:50 PM

Queering the Grid: Zanele Muholi’s Archival Project

King Building 101

This paper focuses on the display practice of contemporary South African photographer and visual activist Zanele Muholi’s (b. 1972) extensive photographic archival project, Faces and Phases. The series documents South Africa’s black queer community which has continued to be stigmatized and threatened even with the progressive legislature of the post apartheid constitution. I will examine specific curatorial strategies used for Faces and Phases in order to understand the subversive qualities of the series as a postcolonial archive. Using queer theory, I will consider the display of Muholi’s archive as a queering of the colonial archival projects that have dominated South African visual history. Case study exhibitions from around the world of Muholi’s work will be compared to other artist reimaginings of the archive such as Santu Mofokeng’s The Black Photo Album / Look at Me 1890-1950, and examined individually in order to establish the affect of display on photographic archival projects.