Important Queer and Trans Art Exhibit at Wits

Queer and Trans Art-iculations: Collaborative Art for Social Change | Zanele Muholi and Gabrielle Le Roux

Posted by Melanie Nathan, January, 23, 2014.

Screen Shot 2014-01-23 at 1.49.15 PMThe Wits Art Museum, ( The University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg, South Africa) in partnership with Wits Centre for Diversity Studies and Inkanyiso, is proud to announce the exhibition Queer and Trans Art-iculations: Collaborative Art for Social Change. This important project features the work of two visual activists:  Zanele Muholi (Mo(u)rning) and Gabrielle Le Roux (Proudly African & Transgender andProudly Trans in Turkey). 

The exhibition coincides with the official launch of the Wits Centre for Diversity Studies.

Queer and Trans Art-iculations: Collaborative Art for Social Change
Zanele Muholi and Gabrielle Le RouxOpening
Wed 29 January 18h00 for 18h30.
Exhibition dates: January 30 – March 30, 2014

Homosexual and gender non-conforming people are discriminated against, victimized, penalized and criminalized.
As insiders and concerned citizens within the LGBTI community who make art, Muholi and Le Roux employ art-activism as a resistance tool and a way to reveal how the LGBTI community exists within society.

The works of both artists speak to the complexities, challenges, freedoms and dangers of living beyond the gender binary.

Recently, the Ugandan and Nigerian governments have enacted anti-homosexuality legislation which will put so many citizens in physical danger and deprive them of their freedom of expression and human rights.

In Turkey there is a spiraling number of hate murders of Trans women in particular, for the majority of whom sex-work is the only available employment as a result of discrimination and social exclusion.

South Africa is notorious for the rampant crimes committed in hate, that have claimed so many young lives especially black lesbians residing in the townships. These are some of the issues that the joint exhibition addresses.

While Proudly African & Transgender and Proudly Trans in Turkey, are created in collaboration with trans and intersex activists from southern and East Africa, and Turkey, Mo(u)rning engages with the experiences of black lesbians and queer people particularly in South Africa.

For the duration of the exhibition, facilitators who can speak to the issues represented in the work from lived experience will be in attendance to assist with queries and provide impromptu guided tours of the work, free of charge.
WAM has also created an interactive space for visitors to respond to the exhibition and share their experiences and thoughts

Programming and special events:

Artist TALKABOUT with Gabrielle Le Roux, 8 February 12h00

Family TALKABOUT with Leigh Blanckenberg, 15 February 12h00

Artist TALKABOUT with Zanele Muholi, 22 February 12h00

Exhibition facilitators will be available
Wed-Sun 10h00-16h00

Opening Night:

Keynote speech by Pregs Govender, Deputy Chair of the South African Human Rights Commission

Performance by Zanele Muholi on the opening night to begin at 19h00. 

For more information, please contact Wits Art Museum on [email protected] or call 011 717 1378

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The Wits Centre for Diversity Studies (WiCDS) is based in the Faculty of Humanities at the University of the Witwatersrand. Through interdisciplinary research, education, and projects, the Centre is a hub for engaging issues of transformation and social justice. WiCDS offers an MA in the Field of Diversity Studies as well as public short courses on “race”, diversity, social justice and transformation in organizations.( 

Inkanyiso is a Visual Arts & Media Advocacy organisation dedicated to educating, producing and disseminating information about LGBT issues to many audiences, especially those who are often marginalized or sensationalized by the mainstream media (

 Zanele Muholi has exhibited widely internationally and is the recipient of numerous international awards.  In 2013 alone, she was awarded the Fine Prize for emerging artists at the 2013 Carnegie International, Carnegie Museum of Art, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania as well as a Prince Claus Award in Amsterdam. She was bestowed with the title Honorary Professor from the University of the Arts, Bremen. She also won the Index on Censorship – Freedom of Expression Art award in London and the Mbokodo Award for Creative Photography.

 Gabrielle Le Roux is a South African artist and activist for social justice. The portrait and story collaborations Le Roux engages in are ongoing and tentative works with the intent to combine art and activism in ways that promote social justice, while navigating the pitfalls of representation. Le Roux’s work has been exhibited in museums, cultural centres, universities, queer cafes, human rights film festivals, galleries, marches and at international human rights conferences, in Roseau (Dominica), Kampala, Berlin, Cape Town, Pretoria, Amsterdam, London, Paris, Barcelona, Madrid, Sevilla, Stockholm, Malmo, Vienna, Hamburg, Athens, Thessalonika, Istanbul, Ankara, San Francisco.

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