Zanele Muholi, Phila I, Parktown (2016). Courtesy of Stevenson, Cape Town/Johannesburg and Yancey Richardson, New York © Zanele Muholi
Phila I, Parktown (2016) is part of Muholi’s ongoing series of self-portraits Somnyama Ngonyama: Hail the Dark Lioness. In this series, Muholi uses everyday domestic materials to craft elaborate costumes or backdrops that hold deep psychological or political significance. For each image in the series, Muholi deliberately alters the contrast in order to enhance the dark tones. Speaking of Somnyama Ngonyama: Hail the Dark Lioness, Muholi states: ‘I’m reclaiming my blackness, which I feel is continuously performed by the privileged other’.