Zanele Muholi photoa book launch with Zanele Muholi, in conversation with Deborah Willis
September 27, Thursday, 6:30 to 8 pm
Silver Center, Jurow Hall, 100 Washington Square East, 1st floor
Please RSVP to or 212-998-IAAA (4222).
Join Deborah Willis and Zanele Muholi in conversation to promote Muholi’s new book, Somnyama Ngonyama: Hail the Dark Lioness, at the Institute of African American Affairs (IAAA) & Center for Black Visual Culture (CBVC) at New York University (NYU).
Zanele Muholi: Somnyama Ngonyama, Hail the Dark Lioness (Aperture) includes one hundred self-portraits created by one of the most powerful visual activists of our time. In each of the images, Muholi drafts material props from their immediate environment in an effort to reflect their journey, explore their own image and possibilities as a black person in today’s global society, and—most important—to speak emphatically in response to contemporary and historical rascisms. As they state, “I am producing this photographic document to encourage people to be brave enough to occupy spaces, brave enough to create without fear of being vilified. . . . To teach people about our history, to re-think what history is all about, to re-claim it for ourselves, to encourage people to use artistic tools such as cameras as weapons to fight back.” More than twenty curators, poets, and authors offer written contributions that draw out the layers of meaning and possible readings to accompany select images.
Co-sponsored by the NYU Center for the Study of Gender & Sexuality; and Institute of African American Affairs & Center for Black Visual Culture.
Zanele Muholi is a South African artist and visual activist. For over a decade they have documented black lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex people’s lives in various townships in South Africa. Responding to the continuing discrimination and violence faced by the LGBTI community, in 2006 Muholi embarked on an ongoing project, Faces and Phases, in which they depict black lesbian and transgender individuals. These arresting portraits are part of Muholi’s contribution towards a more democratic and representative South African homosexual history. Through this positive imagery, Muholi hopes to offset the stigma and negativity attached to queer identity in African society.
Deborah Willis is a contemporary African American artist, photographer, curator of photography, photographic historian, author, and educator. Among her awards and honors, she was a 2000 MacArthur Fellow. Willis is University Professor and Chair of the Department of Photography & Imaging at the Tisch School of the Arts at New York University and has an affiliated appointment with the College of Arts and Sciences, Department of Social & Cultural Africana Studies, where she teaches courses on Photography & Imaging, iconicity, and cultural histories visualizing the black body, women, and gender. Her research examines photography’s multifaceted histories, visual culture, the photographic history of slavery and emancipation, contemporary women photographers and beauty.
Please RSVP to or 212-998-IAAA (4222)
This event is free & open to the public. For more information about this event, please contact the NYU Institute of African American Affairs & Center for Black Visual Culture at 212-998-2130.
Please RSVP to or 212-998-IAAA (4222).