Somnyama Ngonyama: Hail the Dark Lioness

Event Type:



Reid Gallery, Reid Building, The Glasgow School of Art, 164 Renfrew Street, Glasgow, G3 6RF


11 Nov 2017 - 17 Dec 2017

Mon 10:00 - 16:30
Tue 10:00 - 16:30
Wed 10:00 - 16:30
Thu 10:00 - 16:30
Fri 10:00 - 16:30
Sat 10:00 - 16:30
Sun 10:00 - 16:30



Ntozakhe II, Parktown (2016)
Copyright: Zanele Muholi. Courtesy of Stevenson, Cape Town/Johannesburg and Yancey Richardson, New York

Somnyama Ngonyama: Hail the Dark Lioness

Event info

Somnyama Ngonyama: Hail the Dark Lioness
Zanele Muholi

11 November - 17 December 2017
Preview: Friday, 10 November, 5-7pm
Reid Gallery, The Glasgow School of Art

Presented by Autograph ABP in partnership with The Glasgow School of Art, South African visual activist Zanele Muholi (b. 1972) confronts the politics of race and representation in the visual archive in her ongoing self-portrait series Somnyama Ngonyama.

Taken primarily in Europe, North America and Africa between 2014 and 2016, each portrait in Somnyama Ngonyama - isiZulu for Hail the Dark Lioness - poses critical questions about social justice, human rights and contested representations of the black body. Muholi's self-reflective, and psychologically charged portraits are unapologetic in their artistry as she explores different archetypes / personae and offers visual reflections inspired by personal experiences and socio-political events. Gazing defiantly at the camera, Muholi continually challenges the viewer's perceptions while firmly asserting [her] cultural identity on her own terms. 

"I'm reclaiming my blackness, which I feel is continuously performed by the privileged other. My reality is that I do not mimic being black; it is my skin, and the experience of being black is deeply entrenched in me. Just like our ancestors, we live as black people 365 days a year, and we should speak without fear." -Zanele Muholi

The exhibition features four new portraits, commissioned by Autograph ABP, that highlight the plight of women in the struggle for freedom [of movement] and equality under Apartheid. 

The exhibition is curated by Renée Mussai, Senior Curator, Artistic Programmes & Head of Archive and Research at Autograph ABP.


Arts Council England        ABP Autograph transparent