The annual ranking of the most influential people in art
KARABBUING FILM COLLECTIVE
The collective, who hail from the rural Indigenous community in the Northern Territory of Australia, and whose members might number anywhere between 30 and 70 people, make films that bear witness to racism past and present and offer an alternative vision beyond that violent history. Their latest work, Night Fishing with Ancestors (2023), shown this year at solo exhibitions at Secession in Vienna, the Mori Art Museum in Tokyo and Goldsmiths CCA in London, as well as various screenings internationally, is typical, loosely centring on the story of eighteenth-century Macassan traders who sailed to the Australian coast from Indonesia to collect sea cucumbers, a moment of collaborative trade before the extractivist violence of white colonialism. As much as the content of their productions has won praise, woozily mixing documentary, sci-fi and humour, so has their decentred way of working, in which profits from screenings and prizes are ploughed into the development of their own community and their ongoing attempts to reclaim land from the Australian state.
‘At the beginning, showing what I did was very risky,’ Muholi told Numéro on the eve of their retrospective at the Maison Européenne de la Photographie. ‘This was at a time where many hate crimes happened in South Africa and people wanted to use queer people’s presence as a scapegoat for their own failures.’ The Paris show was the latest stop of an exhibition that has already travelled to Gropius Bau, Kunstmuseum Luzern and the National Gallery of Iceland (and is heading to Tate Modern next year), showcasing 20 years of photography focused on Black LGBTQIA+ subjects. ‘It has been a very long journey to get to where we are now,’ says the self-styled ‘visual activist’. They opened the Muholi Art Institute in Cape Town last year, offering residencies lasting six months to a year, with a stipend, housing and studio costs covered; the fruits of which were featured in an exhibition at Jonathan Carver Moore gallery in San Francisco in June. In February the institute presented a group exhibition, EMBODYING #HER, spotlighting the work of established and emerging women-identifying and queer artists.