Zulu artist and activist, Zanele Muholi is a non-binary South African photographer who has received international acclaim for their striking portraits of the black South African LGBTI community, taken over the past fifteen years.

Zazi, is a black-and-white self-portrait. The artist looks over their right shoulder with a commanding gaze, holding a mirror in their left hand such that the profile of the artist is visible in the reflection. Zazi in Zulu – the artist’s mother tongue – means ‘to know oneself’; in Swahili it means ‘wise’, and in Nigerian, ‘mirror of beauty’. For the artist, to know oneself is about self-representation – to see oneself and to be seen, to be reflected in the world, to be visible.

Text by Leigh is Curator of Contemporary Art at AGSA, publisehd in AGSA Magazine Autumm 2022.

Yr 5 and 6 students studied Muholi's photographs and responded by focusing on the use of mirror reflections and black and white photography to emphasise contrast, texture and depth. The students discussed the importance of the gaze to captivate the viewer and then used iPads to take photographs of themselves around the school grounds with a mirror, focussing on the reflection and the gaze. They changed the saturation, making their image black and white.

Lisa Zappia | Art Teacher | West Lakes Shore