Zanele Muholi (ZA)

Somnyama Ngonyama

23 February 2021 - 07 March 2021
Image: Zanele Muholi, [Hlonipha, Cassilhaus, Chapel Hill, North Carolina], 2016. Courtesy Stevenson, Cape Town/
Johannesburg and Yancey Richardson, New York. ©Zanele Muholi.

Image: Zanele Muholi, Hlonipha, Cassilhaus, Chapel Hill, North Carolina, 2016. Courtesy Stevenson, Cape Town/ Johannesburg and Yancey Richardson, New York. ©Zanele Muholi.


23 February 2021 - 07 March 2021




Argyle Square [i]
Argyle Square/Lygon St, Carlton
Outdoor work – accessible all hours


Wheelchair access

Due to lockdown restrictions delaying installation of this work, Faces and Phases will now be installed on 20 February.

“I’m reclaiming my blackness, which I feel is continuously performed by the privileged other.”

South African filmmaker, photographer and visual activist Zanele Muholi uses photography to assert their right to occupy space. Concentrating their unrelenting gaze on underrepresented faces and scenes, Muholi pierces and dissects issues of race, sexuality and gender.

Muholi’s statements around identity have culminated in their most recent work, Somnyama Ngonyama. An intensely evocative series of self-portraits, Somnyama Ngonyama brings the audience to the most personal place possible – the landscape of Muholi’s own face and body. Speaking to the black experience in the world today, each image has been composed using material props from Muholi’s immediate environment.

Muholi seeks to encourage other individuals to embody their own experiences, tell their own truths, and create without fear of vilification or abuse.

Presented by Photo Australia in partnership with the Biennale of Sydney

Supported by the City of Melbourne and Naomi Milgrom Foundation

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PHOTO Channel

Founding Partners
  • Bowness Family Foundation
  • Naomi Milgrom Foundation
Major Government Partners
  • City of Melbourne Arts Grants Program
  • Creative Victoria
Major Partners
  • Maddocks

PHOTO Australia respectfully acknowledges the traditional custodians of the lands upon which we work and live, and the rich and diverse Indigenous cultures across what is now called Australia. For over 60,000 years, Indigenous arts and culture have thrived on this sacred land, and we honour Elders and cultural leaders past and present. This was, and always will be, Aboriginal land.

01–24 March