Zanele Muholi - Photographs London Thursday, May 20, 2021 | Phillips

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  • Provenance

    STEVENSON, Johannesburg

  • Literature

    Zanele Muholi: Somnyama Ngonyama, Hail the Dark Lioness, New York: Aperture, 2018, pl. 70

  • Catalogue Essay

    From the ongoing series Somnyama Ngonyama (‘Hail, the Dark Lioness’), Babhekile, loosely translated from the Zulu language, means ‘they are watching’. Here, the artist looks over their shoulder with a small travel bag over their head. Muholi’s pose, gaze and choice of prop allude to themes of racialised surveillance, space and travel. Turning the camera on themselves, Muholi explores different characters and archetypes to confront the politics of race, gender and sexuality. Muholi is a 2016 recipient of a Chevalier from l’Ordre des Arts et des Lettres and an Infinity Award from ICP, and their work resides in such prominent institutions as New York’s Guggenheim Museum and MoMA, Boston’s Museum of Fine Arts and London’s Tate Modern, which is currently holding the visual activist’s first major UK survey.


Babhekile II, Oslo from Somnyama Ngonyama

Gelatin silver print, mounted.
50 x 37.5 cm (19 5/8 x 14 3/4 in.)
Signed in ink, printed title, date and number 2/8 on a Certificate of Authenticity accompanying the work. One from a sold-out edition of 8 + 2 APs.

£8,000 - 12,000 

Sold for £20,160

Contact Specialist

Rachel Peart
Head of Department, London

Yuka Yamaji
Head of Photographs, Europe

General Enquiries
+44 20 7318 4092



London Auction 20 May 2021