Visual Activism, with Zanele Muholi

NICA is proud to co-sponsor a workshop by acclaimed visual activist Zanele Muholi, who is the first black womxn to have a solo exhibition at the Stedelijk Museum (July-October 2017). The workshop with Muholi will be a part of the conference Art & Activism: Resilience Techniques in Times of Crisis taking place December 13-15, 2017 in Leiden. For this event, Muholi will present with the researcher Lindiwe Dhlamini who volunteers with the Inkanyiso media collective. Since 2006, this collective of ever growing LGBTI contributors focuses on visual arts and media advocacy, and believes Queer Activism = Queer Media.

Workshop “Muholi on Visual Activism: Artistic Collaborations and Political Participation” with (Zanele) Muhole
Thursday Dec 14 11:45-12:45

In this one-hour workshop, Muholi will show images and discuss her perspective on visual activism, a term she coined in the late 1990s-early 2000s to describe her practice of documentary photography of black lesbians in South African townships. During this time, she was a co-founder of FEW (Forum for the Empowerment of Women), and working for Behind the Mask, a news/community website for LGBT South Africans. Muholi then trained at the Market Photo Workshop and became known for a keen editorial stance toward image making (it’s dangers and potential) and for creating striking portraits with participants in the Faces and Phases series. Muholi has been with Stevenson Gallery since 2004 and has a thriving artistic practice. Her success gives her access to museum spaces, galleries, and universities the world-over; and, into these white dominated spaces she brings other talented black South Africans from her communities.

For example, in Muholi’s recent solo exhibition at the Stevenson Cape Town (August 2017), Muholi presented her own self-portraits from the Somnyama Ngonyama / Hail the Dark Lioness series alongside the growing Brave Beauties series.  For this extension of Brave Beauties Muholi flew nine trans women, pageant winners from the Johannesburg-Pretoria area whom she had previously photographed, to Cape Town. They did a 5-day photo shoot, made media videos, shared their stories, and then opened the exhibition of their portraits. To raise awareness of trans experiences in South Africa and to foster trans love, inside the gallery space their images were displayed together with a wall of their personal writings about their lives.

More on Muholi:
More on Inkanyiso:
More on the conference program:

Participants that register for this event will have access to the 3-day conference (free entrance), and should prepare readings selected by Muholi, participate at the workshop, and attend other conference events to receive 1 EC.  Space for up to 10 RMA/PHD students is available by registering through NICA at (before December 6, 2017). Please briefly state your motivation for attending the workshop, and whether you wish to receive 1 EC.

The event is co-organized by Eliza Steinbock (Leiden University Center for the Arts in Society), conference chair of Art & Activism: Resilience Techniques in Times of Crisis.