The seventh edition of the Performa Biennial, currently happening at locations throughout New York City, has been taken over by a collective of queer South African performance artists who are bringing the country's LGBTQ+ issues to the fore.
This year the festival commissioned a special focus feature called The South African Pavilion Without Walls, featuring big-name artists like William Kentridge, Kemang Wa Lehulere, Nicholas Hlobo and Zanele Muholi (who ArtReview magazine named the most powerful female artist in Africa in their annual Power 100 list).
South Africa has been a focus for Performa since the first Biennial in 2005 and, while the rest of the South Africans have been a huge favourite of the festival this year, Muholi's crew -- a collective of the country's prominent queer artists and activists -- have received widespread praise for their brave attitude to the festival.
2017.11.04: Bedford-Stuyvesant, Brooklyn. New York. As we prepared for our group photo. We are thankful to @performanyc for the invitation and welcoming the South African -Muholi team 🙏🏾. ❤️ ... #friendhips #masihambisane #sisonke #humanrights #life #existence is political #art_race_gender_sexual_politics ... http://17.performa-arts.org/
Muholi travelled to NYC with an entourage of nearly 20, each of whom addresses issues facing queer people on the continent.The crew included drag star Odidiva, poet Andile Dlamini, performer Nonku Phiri, theatre performer Thokozani Ndaba, and Mally Simelane, mother of slain soccer player Eudy Simelane, among others.
Odidiva and a host of others performed at the historic Stonewall Inn -- a landmark base for the struggle toward the rights of queer people.
2017.11.01: New York, New York. So honored to have my fellow South Africans, most of them are participants in my photography, enjoying NYC. In this video they were on the train to Brooklyn from Times Square. So wish that @rene_ilwe was with us to interpret for @eva_mofokeng ... I deeply apologize Eva for my ignorance. 🙏🏾 note that you are loved, no matter what. 🎥 @thembeladick1
Muholi will show three of her series at the event. These include: Brave Beauties, a photo-essay featuring gender-nonconforming pageant winners and transgender woman; Somnyama Ngonyama (Hail, The Dark Lioness), the body of work confronting the politics of race and pigment in the photographic archive though self-portraiture, and; Faces and Phases, the portrait series looking at black South African lesbian and transgender individuals.
For all the details check out the performa website.
2017.11.04: Public Arts, New York. ' @aluta_humbane on vocals and dance by #SisiphoNdzuzo blessing the stages of @performanyc #wearegrateful #blessings🖤🙏🏾 ❤️ #life #motivated by #collaborations #love #art_love_gender_sexual_politics #lgbtiq talent we @inkanyisomedia #wedocument #archive #visualartactivism ##weareworthy #masihambisane #anotherapproachispossible