Muholi celebrates 15 Years with Stevenson and Nize nani marks their 13th exhibition with the gallery. 

Internationally acclaimed visual activist and humanitarian Prof. Sir Zanele Muholi has ventured into new mediums as part of their 15th anniversary with Stevenson. 

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Known locally and abroad for their ground-breaking series, Somnyama Ngonyama, as well as with Faces and Phases, Muholi unveiled a sculpture and paintings, alongside photographic portrayals of intimate moments, in Nize nani.

Nize nani introduces new directions in Muholi’s visual activism. Their 13th exhibition with the gallery, observes the ways in which interiority, tenderness and self-expression can be radical and unifying acts. Through these featured bodies of work, Muholi moves away from the iconographic forms of representation that have characterised their output in recent years.

Nize nani simultaneously translates from isiZulu to the statement ‘join us’ and to the question ‘what did you bring with you?’, while offering a meditation on being, belonging and the reality of physical existence in the midst of socially constructed divisions.

At the heart of Nize nani are paintings created with oil, acrylics, ink, menstrual blood and various other media. Thecompositions range across figuration, abstraction and text, yet all are iterations of portraiture. Muholi describes these works as simultaneously documentary and expressive; they capture emotional states, conceptual curiosities and constructed fantasies, marking a new chapter of the archive-building central to their practice. 

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Speaking of the new medium of their work Muholi says; “Exploring with colour has a lot to do with healing, and in that way I’m taken out of my comfort zone. The mixture of colours determines the mood of the image, and the process of making the paintings is itself intuitive.” 

With Muholi’s work has been exhibited all over the worldwith solo shows in Blidmuseet, Umea and Gropius Bau, Berlin. Muholi recently made headlines with their mid-career retrospective at Tate Modern, becoming the first African black artist to showcase solo at the museum. 

Thuladu I, 2021 
Acrylic paint on canvas 
Phiwokuhle, 2021
Acrylic paint on canvas