The Stevenson Gallery announced on Thursday that it would host the “Faces and Phases 13” LGBTQ exhibition by Zanele Muholi in Johannesburg from July 20 to August 30.

“Founded in 2006 in recognition of a lack of black queer visibility, Muholi’s Faces and Phases series has grown into a living archive of black and white photographic portraits of more than 500 lesbians, gender-nonconforming individuals and transmen in various expressions of their sexuality and gender identity,” the gallery said in a statement.

It said the exhibition coincided with Muholi’s birthday month and the 13th anniversary of the ongoing series.

Zanele Muholi Image: ANA 

The series, created as a means to ensure the visibility of black lesbian and transgender communities since the advent of democracy in 1994, addresses the dearth of visual history for black LGBTQIA+ people and drew attention to the brutal hate crimes that continued to plague South Africa, the gallery said.

It said the 2019 edition embraced a reflective stance to honour some of the milestones reached by the project, while acknowledging the long road ahead before full emancipation may be achieved, including the total eradication of hate crimes against members of the LGBTQIA+ communities.

The project lobbies for the inclusion of and non-discrimination against individuals from these communities in economic, academic, social and other spheres of society.

The gallery noted that the first “Faces and Phases” portrait of  Busi Sigasa was captured at Constitution Hill in Johannesburg, where many activists who fought against apartheid were incarcerated.

“Since that first image of Sigasa, Muholi has photographed more than 500 other participants in different parts of South Africa, in neighbouring African countries and, on some occasions, outside the continent in countries including Canada, Sweden and the United Kingdom,” it said.

The series has been shown at the South African Pavilion at the 55th Venice Biennale in 2013 at dOCUMENTA 13 in 2012 and the 29th São Paulo Biennial in 2010. It will form part of Muholi’s retrospective exhibition at Tate Modern in the UK in October.

-ANA editing by Stella Mapenzauswa