LGBT

Artist Documents A Year Of Weddings And Funerals In South Africa's LGBT Community

South African artist Zanele Muholi spent a year photographing images of joy and sorrow for her powerful Of Love And Loss exhibition.

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Photographer Zanele Muholi spent 2013 documenting weddings and funerals in the LGBT community of South Africa – juxtaposing emotional events that often go hand in hand.

Her work has been compiled into a full exhibition,Of Love And Loss, currently on display at the Stevenson contemporary art gallery space in Braamfontein, Johannesburg.

At the show's opening, Muholi stripped down and placed herself inside this clear coffin.

ZANELE MUHOLI

The exhibition involves a photography series, video, and an installation.

Muholi's objective is to empower LGBT individuals who are "silenced by a society which in principle has constitutional obligation to provide a platform to tell their stories, through their own voices, which currently is not the reality."

Ziningi & Delisile Ndlela's wedding VI. Chesterville, Durban, 15 June 2013 / Via ZANELE MUHOLI

Muholi comments on her own experiences while working on the project:

Ayanda Magoloza and Nhlanhla Moremi's wedding in Katlehong took place four months after Duduzile Zozo was murdered in Thokoza. Promise Meyer and Gift Sammone's wedding in Daveyton took place on 22 December [...] 15 days after Maleshwane Radebe was buried in Ratanda. Six months earlier, Ziningi and Delisile Ndlela were married in Chesterville, Durban. Many in the area attended the ceremony, blessed the newlywed couple and prayed for them and their children. We long for such blessings as we continue to read about the trials and tribulations that LGBTI persons experience in their churches, where homosexuality is persecuted. In 2014, when South African democracy celebrates its 20 years, it seems more important than ever to raise again our voice against hate crimes and discriminations made towards the LGBTI community.

One visitor to the exhibition remarked: “If it weren’t for her, we would know each other, but the world would only know us through their eyes and voice, I see myself in this exhibition."

View more of the exhibition's photography here.