Every experience has a visual and experiential representation through photography, illustration, product, video, digital, and physical environments. THE FIRST PROOF is another look at the formation of these experiences, focusing equally on creation and creator. It serves as an analysis of the creative inputs and outputs, and its influence.

Observations on fashion, art, design, and creativity. 

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Must-See: Zanele Muholi at Yancey Richardson 

Comprising two bodies of work, Brave Beauties, on show in New York for the first time, and Somnyama Ngonyama (‘Hail, the Dark Lioness’), the exhibition brings together two integral elements within Muholi’s practice: intimate studies of queer life in her native South Africa and self portraiture.

Begun in 2014, Brave Beauties is a series of portraits depicting transwomen in South Africa, and as such represents an overt challenge to a culture that continues to violently discriminate against the LGBTQI community. In a similar vein to the ongoing project Faces and Phases, Muholi creates celebratory photographs of empowered individuals who assert their identities through their confident poses, taking ownership of the spaces they inhabit.

Turning the camera on herself for the Somnyama Ngonyama series, Muholi explores the concepts of self-representation and self-definition by experimenting with different characters and archetypes.

In both bodies of work, Muholi uses portraiture as a form of exposure to disrupt the dominant images of black women in the media today and to bear witness to both the brutality and the joy of black, queer, lesbian, and transgendered individuals in South Africa. In a recent article in The Guardian, Muholi states: “This is about our lives, and if queer history, trans history, if politics of blackness and self-representation are so key in our lives, we just cannot sit down and not document and bring it forth.” In 2009 Muholi founded Inkanyiso, a non-profit organization dedicated to visual art, media advocacy, and visual literacy training for South Africa’s LGBTQI community.

From The New York Times: "Muholi feels that turning the camera on herself will force this introspection. ‘‘This is why the self-­portraits are so major to me. We get caught up in other people’s worlds, and you never ask yourself how you became.’’

Somnyama Ngonyama

Brave Beauties

Read More:

Yancey Richardson Gallery November 9 - December 9

525 West 22nd Street NYC, NY

NYT: Zanele Muholi's Transformations

Zanele Muholi's Inkanyiso

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