‘A queer person can be anybody’: the African photographers exploring identity

+ infor: The Guardian

In his new book, Africa State of Mind, Ekow Eshun celebrates contemporary African photography. Here he showcases the work of artists looking at the self and sexuality, from Zanele Muholi to Eric Gyamfi.

In August 2009, an exhibition titled «Innovative Women» opened in Johannesburg, aiming to showcase the work of the city’s young black female artists. The launch was attended by Lulu Xingwana, minister for arts and culture at the time, who had been invited to officially open the show. But instead of giving a speech, Xingwana stormed out of the gallery after seeing images by the photographer Zanele Muholi that depicted naked women in close embrace. Muholi’s work, said the minister, was immoral, offensive and ran contrary to “social cohesion and nation-building”.

South Africa has one of the most progressive constitutions in the world, with discrimination on the basis of sexuality barred by law. Yet censorious attitudes such as Xingwana’s towards homosexuality are widespread. Almost three-quarters of the population believe same-sex sexual activity is morally wrong, according to a 2016 survey. Similarly intolerant views are commonplace across Africa. Homosexuality is outlawed in 32 of the continent’s 54 nations.

Against that backdrop the work of a photographer such as Muholi takes on a dual role, both representing individual artistic expression and operating as a form of political activism; a means to positively assert LGBTQ+ identity in straitened circumstances.

Imperio de Ilusiones, una mirada al drag en Monterrey

+ info: Cuartoscuro

Laura Álvarez devela el corazón del movimiento drag queen en la ciudad de Monterrey a través de su serie de fotografías Imperio de Ilusiones.

Imperio de ilusiones busca mostrar al público que no conoce los orígenes y los porqués del drag cómo éste se desenvuelve en una ciudad en donde sistémicamente ha sido rechazado. La serie fue galardonada con el segundo lugar en el Concurso Nacional de Fotografía Los Derechos Humanos 2019.

Hal Fischer: Gay Semiotics

+ info: Hal Fisher

Since 1977—when the first exhibition of the this series took place in San Francisco—Gay Semiotics series has been recognized as a unique and pioneering analysis of a gay historical vernacular and as an irreverent appropriation of structuralist theory. Taken directly from Fischer’s personal experiences living in the vibrant gay communities of San Francisco’s Castro and Haight-Ashbury districts, Fischer’s photo-text deconstructions are laced with humor and a formal photographic esthetic indebted as much to textbook and advertising images as it is to the photographs of August Sander.

New Book: Hal Fischer: The Gay Seventies. Edited by Griff Williams, Troy Peters. Essay by Hal Fischer.