Zanele Muholi, HeVi, Oslo from Somnyama Ngonyama (Hail the Dark Lioness), 2016, gelatin silver print, 39 ½ x 29 ¾ inches, Tang Teaching Museum collection, purchased with generous funding from Nancy Herman Frehling ’65 and Leslie Cypen Diamond ’96, 2016.30.2
Yordy Cabrera ’22 and Laura Bussemaker ’22
This art piece Hevi, Oslo is from a series of black and white self-portraits that Zanele Muholi created over a period of time. The series is called Somnyama Ngonyama which translates to “Hail the Dark Lioness”. Our exhibition proposal, titled Sustain and Affirm, aims to explore different facets of identity in contemporary African self-portraiture. Two other artworks that we chose to include are Samuel Fosso’s Le rêve de mon Grand Père and Omar Victor Diop’s Dom Nicolau, 1830-1860. Each of these three works explores a different way of thinking about one’s identity such as a familial or historical lens, or in Muholi’s case, one that explores self-identity. Muholi’s piece contributes to our exhibition’s theme through the way that they turn the camera on themselves, confronting the viewer’s conceptions of identity.