Zanele Muholi caught my eye with her images of uber dark skin with over thick locks, big bright luminous eyes and thick juicy lips. She is a South African artist and visual activist working in photography, video, and installation. The focus was on race, gender, and sexuality.
For over a decade they have documented black lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex people’s lives in various townships in South Africa. Muholi’s self-proclaimed mission is "to re-write a black queer and trans visual history of South Africa for the world to know of our resistance and existence at the height of hate crimes in SA and beyond." I can imagine the struggle for members of the LGBTQ community have gone through, coming from a third world country myself with a low tolerance for anything "not the norm".
Muholi has produced a number of photographic series investigating the severe disconnect that exists in post-apartheid South Africa between the equality promoted by its 1996 Constitution and the ongoing bigotry toward and violent acts targeting individuals within the LGBTQ community.
Muholi's photography has been compared to W.E.B. Dubois in that the works try to to re shape your concept of what someone is "supposed" to look like, talk like, etc. To view a moment in time or person without any negative connotations. To view the subject as an individual and to encourage unity.
This special brand of visual activism is both arresting to the eye, but also stirs something in the soul. Without knowing the history behind the photos themselves they still manage to lure you in with their depth. They challenge the stereotypes and standards of beauty that often do not apply to people of color. The darker the berry and all that....