Skip to Main Content

Zonk'zizwe, Green Market Square, Cape Town from the series Somnyama Ngonyama (Hail the Dark Lioness)

Zanele Muholi (South African, born 1972). Zonk'zizwe, Green Market Square, Cape Town from the series "Somnyama Ngonyama" ("Hail the Dark Lioness"), 2017. Gelatin silver print, edition 1/8 plus 2 artist's proofs, 23 3/4 x 23 3/8 inches (60.3 x 59.4 cm). Collection Albright-Knox Art Gallery, Buffalo, New York; Pending Acquisition Funds, 2018 (P2018:7). © Zanele Muholi, Courtesy of Stevenson, Cape Town / Johannesburg, and Yancey Richardson, New York

© Zanele Muholi

Image downloads are for educational use only. For all other purposes, please see our Obtaining and Using Images page.

© Zanele Muholi

Image downloads are for educational use only. For all other purposes, please see our Obtaining and Using Images page.

© Zanele Muholi

Image downloads are for educational use only. For all other purposes, please see our Obtaining and Using Images page.

Zanele Muholi

South African, born 1972

Zonk'zizwe, Green Market Square, Cape Town from the series Somnyama Ngonyama (Hail the Dark Lioness), 2017

gelatin silver print

Edition: 1/8 plus 2 artist's proofs

image: 23 3/4 x 23 3/8 inches (60.32 x 59.37 cm); framed: 24 5/8 x 24 5/16 x 1 3/4 inches (62.55 x 61.75 x 4.45 cm); sheet (irregular): 26 9/16 x 26 1/2 inches (67.47 x 67.31 cm)

Collection Albright-Knox Art Gallery, Buffalo, New York

Pending Acquisition Funds, 2018

P2018:7

More Details

Inscriptions

no inscriptions

Provenance

from the artist to Stevenson Gallery, South Africa;
sold to the Albright-Knox Art Gallery, October 2, 2018

Class

Photographs

Work Type

Gelatin silver print

This information may change due to ongoing research. Glossary of Terms

In this self-portrait, South African photographer Zanele Muholi uses light and contrast to exaggerate the darkness of black skin. Muholi’s bearing suggests an unapologetic pride in black identity. “Just like our ancestors,” the artist has said, “we live as black people 365 days a year, and we should speak without fear.” At the same time as it celebrates the beauty of blackness, this photograph also alludes to problematic representations of people of color by white artists throughout the history of art. Set in a former slave market than now sells souvenirs, the artist’s darkened, mask-like face appears against a wall of African masks for sale to tourists, recalling the expectations that white audiences have about depictions of black bodies. 

Label from We the People: New Art from the Collection, October 23, 2018–July 21, 2019

Back to Top