Durban born photographer and visual art activist Zanele Muholi was awarded the Chevalier des Arts et des Lettres (Knight in the Order of Arts and Letters) by French ambassador Christophe Farnaud at a reception in Pretoria on Tuesday night.
Muholi is an internationally acclaimed South African photographer. Born in 1972 in Umlazi, the artist’s work is deeply intertwined with advocacy on behalf of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and intersex community.
Also present was South African photographer David Goldblatt, who founded the Market Photo Workshop and who mentored Muholi. In 2016, Goldblatt was awarded the Commandeur des Arts et des Lettres.
Farnaud praised Muholi’s work: “Muholi is an internationally acclaimed “visual activist”, as she puts it. France is proud to stand beside those who fight for the right to be free and equal. Muholi’s work has raised the subject of LGBTQI rights in South Africa and internationally. It shines a light where there is shadow, it creates a space where there was none.”
Muholi cofounded the Forum for the Empowerment of Women in 2002 and in 2009 founded Inkanyiso, a forum for queer and visual media.