Zanele Muholi: The Women’s Mobile Museum

Philadelphia Photo Arts Center, Philadelphia, PA

November 1, 2017 – June 1, 2019

Production | Exhibition Grant

VIA is proud to support the Philadelphia Photo Arts Center’s project, the Women’s Mobile Museum with South African-based artist Zanele Muholi. In line with Muholi’s practice, which often focuses on bringing visibility to LGTBI communities through participatory media projects, the Women’s Mobile Museum, a yearlong residency program and a traveling exhibition space, involves a group of ten economically vulnerable women in Philadelphia. PPAC and Muholi are providing the project’s participants with photography, video, graphic design, writing, and public speaking training, and work with them intensively to create portraits and self-portraits. Muholi and the participants are collaborating in the creation, production, and installation of a mobile exhibition that addresses the questions:  Whose portraits are represented in art museums? and Who is art for? The Women’s Mobile Museum will travel to community partner organizations in Philadelphia and will culminate in an exhibition at PPAC, encompassing the complete body of work produced during the residency, augmented with documentation to contextualize the work and accompanied by two magazines co-designed by the women and artist.

By seeking to address barriers that prevent women from becoming culturally and economically engaged in the arts, Muholi intends for the participants to gain transferrable skills from the project and instill a sense of self-worth and value in creative expression. Friends and families of the participants will be included as subjects of the photographic work. Through this project, PPAC also seeks to build a bridge between diverse and insular communities and encourage a sense of belonging though active participation in photography.

For more information, visit Philadelphia Photo Arts Center.

Image: Zanele Muholi, Somnyama Ngonyama I, Paris, 2014, Photograph. Courtesy of Philadelphia Photo Arts Center.