Zanele MUHOLI Somnyama Ngonyama
Curated by Francesca de' Medici
Wednesday, 27 September, 2023
6 - 9 PM
28.09.2023 - 20.12.2023
Prometeo Gallery Ida Pisani, Milan
Via Privata G. Ventura 6 - Via Massimiano
Prometeo Gallery Ida Pisani is pleased to present Zanele MUHOLI Somnyama Ngonyama, a thematic solo presentation of selfportraits of South African artivist Zanele Muholi (Umlazi, Durban, 1972), with an introductory text by Francesca de’ Medici.
Once again in their beloved Milan, and showing for the first time at Ida Pisani’s Prometeo Gallery, Zanele Muholi offers us a selection of eloquent images from their ongoing and critically-acclaimed series Somnyama Ngonyama (Hail, the Dark Lioness). In these self-portraits, made before and after the COVID-19 pandemic, Sir Muholi avail themself of heterogeneous objects and innumerable cultural references to explore personal and intimate narratives and address issues concerning Black queer visibility, identity and sexual desire.
Inventive, evocative and hypnotic, Sir Muholi’s work defies traditional forms of meaning-making and creates its own explorative language. These vibrant black-and-white self-portraits embody a history of recurring thematic and formal concerns; from an exploration of identity, power and social justice to the interconnectedness between ourselves, others and the world. A never- before-seen video completes and enriches this extraordinary event.
Zanele Muholi’s quietly subversive approach to the themes of sexual identity and gender politics are vital to the evolution of mentality and weigh considerably in the crucial role that women play within it. By offering us their innumerable facets and portraits, Muholi leads us to the unseen, the marginalised and the misrepresented. Powerfully embodying the spirit of Ubuntu, and opening a space for Black and LGBTQIA+ people, Muholi encourages us to explore the most profound meaning of compassion, embrace our shared humanity and take real and effective action. With their impactful and unique visual language, they offer urgent reflection on high-profile themes such as the contemporary depiction of queer bodies and the established notions of ‘male’ and ‘female’ as socially constructed terms within the struggle for gender equality and rights.