“I am producing this photographic document to encourage people to be brave enough to occupy space, brave enough to create without fear of being vilified ... To teach people about our history, to re-think what history is all about, to re-claim it for ourselves, to encourage people to use artistic tools such as cameras as weapons to fight back …forcing the viewer to question their desire to gaze at images of my black figure”

Somnyama Ngonyama features self-portraits taken in the many countries and cities Muholi has visited across the world. The artist employs various materials, often common or linked to the specific location of a shoot, to reflect the journey and explore their own image and possibilities as a black individual responding to contemporary and historical racisms in today’s global society.


  • Title: Sebenzile, Parktown
  • Creator: Zanele Muholi
  • Date Created: 2016
  • Location Created: Museum of Contemporary Art Australia
  • Physical Dimensions: 300 x 261 cm
  • Provenance: Presented at the 22nd Biennale of Sydney with generous assistance from the Sherman Foundation, and in partnership with PHOTO 2020. Public programming relating to this project was made possible with generous support from the Naomi Milgrom Foundation. Courtesy the artist; Stevenson, Cape Town/Johannesburg; and Yancey Richardson, New York. Copyright © Zanele Muholi.
  • Type: photography
  • Rights: Biennale of Sydney
  • Medium: wallpaper
  • Edition: 22nd Biennale of Sydney (2020): NIRIN

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