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Maker(s):Muholi, Zanele
Culture:South African (1972- )
Title:Akhona Hentili, Makhaza, Khayelitsha, Cape Town, from the series Faces & Phases
Date Made:2011
Type:Photograph
Materials:Gelatin silver print
Place Made:Africa; South Africa
Measurements:Sheet: 34 7/8 in x 24 7/8 in; 88.6 cm x 63.2 cm; Image: 30 1/16 in x 19 3/4 in; 76.4 cm x 50.2 cm
Accession Number:  MH 2014.6.3
Credit Line:Purchase with the Art Acquisition Endowment Fund
Museum Collection:  Mount Holyoke College Art Museum
mh_2014_6_3_v1_01.jpg

Description:
A portrait of a woman dressed in a collared shirt and wearing a black cap.

Label Text:
Filling the frame of this photograph, Akhona Hentili looks directly into the camera. She meets us with a powerful gaze, seeming to examine us as we do her. The women in Zanele Muholi’s series Faces and Phases are lesbians living in southern African nations, especially South Africa, where they are often persecuted for their sexual orientation. In these countries LGBTQ individuals are victims of brutal beatings, “corrective” rapes, and murder. By agreeing to participate in this photographic project, these women risked physical harm, yet they pose boldly. Here Muholi captures Hentili’s unique strength, and though a deeply personal portrait, it also becomes part of a larger document of a community in peril.

(Jan. 2017)

Zanele Muholi composed these portraits with her sitters filling the frame and looking directly into the camera. They meet us with powerful gazes, seeming to examine us as much as we do them.

The women in Zanele Muholi’s series, Faces and Phases , are lesbians. They live in southern African nations, especially South Africa, where they are often persecuted for their sexual orientation. In these countries L.G.B.T. individuals are victims of brutal beatings, “corrective rapes,” and even murder. By agreeing to participate in this photographic project, these women risked physical harm, yet they pose boldly in Muholi’s images.

In his riveting study of the middle ages, Johan Huizinga described people from that period enduring “the violent tenor of life.” Without photography we can only imagine the emotional impact that must have had. In Muholi’s photographs, we look into the eyes of individuals living in terror, yet who stand defiant in the face of the “violent tenor” of their own lives.

(2015)

Tags:
African; portraits; LGBTQ; women; black and white

Link to share this object record:
https://museums.fivecolleges.edu/detail.php?t=objects&type=ext&id_number=MH+2014.6.3

Research on objects in the collections, including provenance, is ongoing and may be incomplete. If you have additional information or would like to learn more about a particular object, please email fc-museums-web@fivecolleges.edu.

2 Related Media Items

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