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Thulani II, Parktown

Zanele Muholi (South African, born 1972)
This photograph is part of a series of more than eighty self-portraits in which the visual activist Zanele Muholi explored identity, challenged stereotypes, and inspired resistance. Made in improvised settings around the world, the works often incorporate everyday objects—such as cowrie shells, electrical cords, and latex gloves—that prompt questions about sexual politics, social justice, and the representation of Blackness and queerness. Muholi also used heightened contrast to emphasize their Blackness in these self-portraits—a subtle but pointed way of calling attention to notions of beauty and desire, as well as the cultural forces that shape these concepts. Through the series, Muholi not only challenged political histories and social realities but also found inventive and moving ways to reclaim them for themself.

Object Details

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