Zanele Muholi addresses social issues related to race and the LGBTQIA+ (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer/questioning, intersex, and asexual/allied) community in Africa. In this photograph, Muholi turns the camera on themself to become the subject in a series they took while traveling in South Africa, the United States, and Europe. The series, Somnyama Ngonyama (Hail, the Dark Lioness), confronts the politics of race and pigment in contemporary photography. Muholi takes on different personas and characters in these photographs, which draw on traditions of self-portraiture, black and white photography, and fashion photography. The artist has said, “The black face and its details become the focal point, forcing the viewer to question their desire to gaze at images of my black figure. By exaggerating the darkness of my skin tone, I'm reclaiming my Blackness....”

"Basizeni XI, Cassilhaus," North Carolina was created while Muholi was in residency at Cassilhaus in Chapel Hill, North Carolina in 2016. Titled in honor of their eldest sister’s birthday, the image shows the artist wearing deflated bike tires found at the Scrap Exchange, a creative reuse center in Durham, North Carolina.


  • Title: Basizeni XI, Cassilhaus, North Carolina
  • Creator: Zanele Muholi
  • Creator Birth Place: Durban, Republic of South Africa
  • Date Created: 2016
  • Location: Nasher Museum of Art at Duke University
  • Physical Dimensions: 31 1/2 × 24 inches (80 × 60.9 cm)
  • Type: Photograph
  • Publisher: Nasher Museum of Art at Duke University
  • Rights: © Zanele Muholi
  • Medium: Gelatin silver print, edition 8/8
  • Art Form: Photography
  • Credit Line: Collection of the Nasher Museum of Art at Duke University, Durham, North Carolina. Museum purchase. Image courtesy of the artist, Yancey Richardson Gallery, New York, and Stevenson Cape Town/Johannesburg.

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