2019 Sep. 9: Celebrating Phindile Madlala: A life well lived.

by Wakhe Sebenza

There are very few people who really live life to the fullest, this is how the late Phindile Madlala was described at her Funeral on Sunday 08.09.19 in Pinetown KwaZulu-Natal where all her friends and family gathered to pay their last respects. I know there are a lot of reasons one might not be able to attend a funeral of their loved ones, be it distance, finances or timing. I almost didn’t make it to this one too, I found myself talking to the spirit of the late saying “My friend, you understand my situation, you know I’d love to attend but you understand right?” isn’t it amazing how when our loved ones pass on we feel they are staying with us in spirit? Stepped out of view Yes, but they become more present than ever, is it just my belief?


The last time I wrote about Phindile, I was sitting with her, getting to know her, connecting with her, telling me about her dreams and aspirations. Today I’m writing about her and sadly she is no more. I know we have a list of things that we say they would make us happy, what we intend to pursue, buying that dream car, getting that dream job but what if we die before all these things come true? I think it’s time we learn not to postpone our happiness and find the little things that makes us happy, that was Phindile’s life, that’s why she was described as a person who lived her life to the fullest.

Phindile was part of the Queer family of Inkanyiso Media, conceptualized by Prof. Sir Zanele Muholi and recently worked as an educational officer for the first edition of Ikhono Lasenatali exhibition that was taking place at KZNSA Gallery. The show is currently on its second edition in Cape Town at A4 Gallery.


Inkanyiso team was at the funeral paying their last respects in all black attires, with yellow ribbons representing one of Phindile’s favorite colors, she was a lady of green and yellow. It was a sad day for everyone but we were there to celebrate a life well lived. We were there to support her family, we had an incredible program director to channel the mood of celebration. The MC was Pastor Ndlovukazi Mapule, who is a Marketing Manager and an On-Air Personality at iNanda FM 88.4 in Durban and an Author of LEAVING THE SHADOWS BEHIND, oh and she is vocally gifted as well. Ndlovukazi and her music team knew the right songs to sing for the occasion, From the well-known hymn penned by hymnist Horatio Spafford, IT IS WELL WITH MY SOUL to Phindile’s favorite song, WEBATHANDWA YENKINHLANHLA YOKUKHOLWA NGUYE UJESU, loosely translated; “You the beloved, embrace Jesus Christ and feel the warmth of his love.”


I thought I would hear about the other side of Phindile that I’m not familiar with from the speakers on the program but that was not the case, we all knew the same Phindile, a happy soul yet a cry baby. I can’t remember a time when Phindile has not shed tears on a long phone call and laugh within seconds, that’s the Phindile all her friends knew. Speakers included her beautiful daughter Lwandiswa who is in her 1st year at University. She described her mother as her best friend, she shared all the good times and funny moments they had. She knows her mother loved and wanted the best for her, she will miss her and her long calls every morning but she understands that her mother’s spirit will live with her forever. Another speaker was Phindile’s Partner, Wendy Khumalo who initially had someone to speak on her behalf but could not resist the urge to share the beautiful memories she shared with her partner.


I’ve been wondering if people really know when they are going to die, maybe the mind is not aware but the soul knows its time to go home? We also can’t tell until they are gone and we start connecting the dots that signals one knew they were going to die. When Prof. Sir Zanele Muholi shared how was their last time together in Cape Town for the opening of Ikhono LaseNatali Exhibition, a weekend before she passed on, she was the happiest, she was having the time of her life and she was grateful.  I connected my dots too, her last voicenote to me was “We shall talk on the other side of town” in thought she meant Cape Town but no, we did not speak while she was there, that was her goodbyes. Muholi describes Phindile as someone who was clear with her duties and loved her work, a person who listened when Muholi needed a friend, wasn’t judgmental and really cared.


The service was led by Pastor Tebogo Moema, an openly gay pastor who is known for his tireless work within the LGBTIQ+ Community. He took up on his role to bring comfort to the family and friends, as he stated his role as pastor, he also mentioned how he knows Phindile and how he is saddened by her passing, although he was to bring comfort but he also needed that comfort too.

Phindile was laid to rest at Newlands Cemetery, she will forever be in our hearts.

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Posted in "Free from My Happiness", "Till death do us apart", 1972 -, 2014 Photo XP, A decade of Faces and Phases, Beautiful faces, Faces & Phases portraits, Faces and Phases, Faces and Phases (2006 - ), Funeral, funerals, Ikhono LaseNatali, Inkanyiso crew, Inkanyiso media, Inkanyiso team members, Photographs from the funeral, Uncategorized, Well organized funeral, Zanele Muholi movements | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

2019 Sep. 8: The Queen has taken her last bow: #RIPPhindileMadlala

By: Lindiwe Dhlamini

The cliché “life is too short” has never made sense to me because most of those who would use it are people who have been alive for 20 years or more. To me that is not short, it was until the untimely death of our colleague Phindile Madlala when it started to make sense. Phindile was a dedicated member of Inkanyiso.org who was working with schools around KwaZulu-Natal (KZN) educating learners about art and photography. Most of us know Phindile as Wendy Khumalo’s lover who is also a member of Inkanyiso. Both Phindile and Wendy are participants in Faces and Phases (F&P) a photographical documentation of black Queer [1] identifying people.


When the news of Phindile’s passing were circulated on the 2nd of September 2019 we were all in disbelief as most of us had just seen or been in communication with her a day before that. On Saturday; 31 August 2019 Inkanyiso crew was in Cape Town for the opening of Ikhono Lase Natali a commissioned project in collaboration with KZN based artists founded by Professor/Sir Zanele Muholi. Phindile; as one of the people working in that project was also in attendance. Wearing her favorite colors green and yellow with her forever welcoming, warm personality and smile. She did not look ill, not even a bit nor show any signs or plans of taking her last bow yet, there we were travelling to Durban to go lay her body to rest for the last time.


Most of us are worried about Wendy; losing the love of her life is not going to be easy to heal from. But, seeing how strong Wendy has been throughout the week in preparation for the funeral shows that the support she has been receiving was immense. The memories of their beautiful love are what remain and Wendy has been sharing them on her social media as a reminder of what a gem we have all lost.

Many people attended Phindile’s memorial service which was held at Nazareth Community Hall in Pinetown; KZN on the 6th of September 2019. For me; that was the first time it hit me that indeed Phindile is no more. Seeing the slideshow of her images with Wendy confirmed my deepest fear of never seeing Phindile again. Phindile and I were due to travel together to the Eastern Cape to conduct interviews with the participants of F&P for the upcoming book publication. I wish I had a chance to interview her so her story could live on along with the memories she has left us with.


We are all deeply saddened by this loss of such a wonderful soul, even the way people spoke fondly of her was testament to the person Phindile was and how she will be remembered. One of the saddest moments was listening to Phindile’s daughter Lwandisa; a beautiful young woman who is currently studying at the University of Pretoria. She spoke warmheartedly about her mother, the good and bad times and how her mother was always her pillar of strength. In fact, everyone who spoke about Phindile said how she was always supportive and loved helping people.


People showed up for Phindile’s funeral looking good to accompany the Queen to her last resting place. There were wreaths and yellow ribbons to symbolize the love Phindile had for life and others. The attendance was high further confirming that Phindile was indeed a people’s person, while all of us were still in shock of how sudden her passing was. The universe was ready to receive the Queen. Indlovukazi Mapule from Victory Ministries Church International (VMCI) was the Master of Ceremony (MC) at the memorial and the funeral service. While, Pastor Tebogo Moema conducted the last service to lay our loving Phindile to her final resting place.

Losing a loved one is one of the most painful and hardest things to experience Losing Phindile so suddenly was a reminder that no one is invincible. All that remains are memories we have shared with those we love and Phindile left us with many happy ones because of how much she loved life and being happy. Sizohlala sikuthanda kakhulu Phindile; lala ngoxolo Hlokohloko.

[1] Queer – An umbrella term to identify people who identify as Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans*, Intersex, Queer/Questioning

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2019 Sep. 1: Queers Converse

by Nonkululeko Dube

I was invited to document a dinner gathering on August 1st 2019. It was hosted in Parktown North, Johannesburg,  by David Lewis-Peart who lives in Toronto, Canada. He was invited to South Africa by Prof/Sir Zanele Muholi for Faces and Phases 13 exhibition, which took place at Stevenson Gallery in Parktown North on the 20th of July 2019. Few minutes after I arrived at David’s place, his guests also started to arrive. These were not just any guests; they were intellectual black queer men.

While waiting for everyone else who was still on their way they opened a bottle of wine. And very interesting conversations emerged, like when someone asked what everyone thought on the issue of being “post-gay” meaning is the public seeing being gay as being equally valid forms of human expression. Right there and then I knew for certain they are going to need more wine. In my own head I thought it is about damn time that the public stop worrying about people’s sexualities, when the whole world is faced with paedophilia and cumulative rape cases. But this was not my place to be engaging my thoughts to the conversation. After all David has a good reason for wanting only black queer men at this gathering; I just happened to be a photographer in the space.


I have never been in a space where black men are actually allowed to show their sensitivity to anything. Being a girl that was raised by her grandparents in a rural area, where young men are taught to be strong. We even have a saying in IsiZulu that says “Indoda ayikhali” (Men don’t cry), so this gathering was an eye opener for me in actual fact. Eventually everyone arrived and they were talking about how they came out as gay men in their communities. What I realised is that okay fine these people here in this space are coming from different backgrounds but they relate with each other’s stories. David’s friend brought food, it was too spicy and others complained but it smelled really nice and we could not wait to dig in already. We had to wait for Welcome Lishivha who had gone back to his house to fetch a projector and a speaker, since we were going to watch a film later that night.


I remember this one time they were talking about the gay community, one of the guests said they have chosen to distance themselves from the community in order to find their individual self. Because of so many stereotypes on black gay men and expectations on how gay black men should carry themselves. Especially with the common people on social media and television who “claim” to be representing gay black men. And all they doing is just putting standards that other gay black men do not relate with. And they say the gay community always pretends like all gay men are one, whereas they cannot even relate to a gay white man and when they are together with them, they never fit in nor feel part of the community. But also acknowledging the privilege that they have as professionals compared to being a broke gay person in South Africa.


Welcome finally came back and we all started dishing up and eating. They were officially running out of wine but at least at this point there was still one sealed bottle. After eating I asked everyone to move from the dinning area to a sitting room, where I took a group portrait. Then David told us that he has been working on this documentary in Canada. The one we were about to watch the screening of. Its about Gay men in Canada opening up about their sexual life and intimacy. The film was amazing, everyone in the room loved it and David announced that he would actually like to make the same documentary with every gay man that was at the dinner gathering. People were really excited and they wanted myself and David to start the documentary that very same night, unfortunately he told them that it was very late and I had to go to school the next morning. But I really enjoyed every moment with those guys. It felt like we had known each other for years, when I had just met most of them that very same night.

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2019 Aug. 31: Reclaiming Blackness: Ikhono LaseNatali

Written by: Tebogo Nong

Ikhono LaseNatali is an exhibition commissioned by Professor Sir Zanele Muholi featuring the works of 25 talented Durban-based artists who have interpreted Sir Muholi’s Somnyama Ngonyama (Hail, the dark lioness).

The Cape Town edition of Ikhono LaseNatali felt like a family gathering of the young and the old, celebrating art in all its facets. The exhibition opened with blessings from Pastor Tebo Moema and a thought provoking poem by Christie Van Zyl. Prof. Sir Zanele Muholi led us in song bringing a diverse group of people into oneness. A moment of learning and unlearning. They also recommended tools for exploration like Sarah Thornton’s book, Seven Days in the Art World. The exhibition viewing was followed by some of our favourite traditional cuisine, a true celebration.


2019 Aug. 31 Muholi _ Ikhono LaseNatali CPT020919_31

“I can afford to look at myself directly, risk the pain of experiencing who I am not , and learn to savior the sweetness of who I am” – Audre Lorde

In Somnyama Ngonyama -Sir Muholi turned their camera on themselves to explore all facets of black identity, the archive confronts the politics of race and how it is experienced in different spaces. In the same way Ikhono LaseNatali spoke to reclaiming blackness and self- expression, the artists were given the opportunity to reinterpret the body of work through their own language of art.

Ikhono LaseNatali called us into understanding the politics of representation and what it means to transform and re-write art. We were able to rediscover and witness the beauty in black personhood; the kind of beauty that is often not depicted in the media and galleries. At its core the exhibition depicts the power of collectivism and visibility on black walls.

Ikhono LaseNatali CPT020919_15

Sir Muholi has written history and extended what it means to be a visual activist, not only in theory but in action and through the power of art, giving young artists a voice in spaces where their art can be welcomed and remembered in the collective consciousness. Through the exhibition Muholi has challenged how systems are constructed by giving artists a platform and giving them the tools to express and grow themselves.


The exhibition celebrates 25 years of Democracy and what better way to celebrate than to empower the youth and write what has not been written; bringing creative freedom and messages into place.

The interconnection between Somnyama Ngonyama and Ikhono LaseNatal is that Muholi used props in their immediate surroundings; similarly the artists used various mediums from charcoal, to beadwork and other forms of multimedia to express different aspects of identity. Both collections speak to fearlessly being present in a space. Sir Muholi’s work is a brave statement of what it means to use your voice beyond people’s expectations. Sir Muholi has allowed young artists to roar ; by posing the question of identity through our thoughts, memories, beliefs, discoveries, adaptation, innovation, spirituality and transformation.

Ikhono LaseNatali CPT020919_84 sm

With works by Nhlanhla Chonco, Mduduzi Dzanibe, Thalente Khomo, Lindokuhle Khumalo, Bongani Luthuli, Sthenjwa Luthuli, Morgan Mahape, Nkosikhona Majola, Mpilo Makhanya, Andile Maphumulo, Mthobisi Maphumulo, Buhle Wonder Mbambo, Mondli Mbhele, Ncumisa Mcitwa, Khulekani Mkhize, Nhlakanipho Mkhize, Mlamuli Mkhwanazi, Sphephelo Mnguni, Thembi Mthembu, Londiwe Mtshali, Nomusa Mtshali, Lungisani Ndlovu, Major Ndlovu, Lindani Nyandeni, and Zwelinjani Radebe.

Curated by: Dr. Bajabulile La Dhlamini Sidzumo and Thobeka Bhengu.

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Posted in 2014 Oct. 2 Cape Times article, 2018 Somnyama Ngonyama Book Launch @ WISER, Akershus Art Centre, Art, Art Activism, Art Activism in South Africa, Art collectors, Art Edutainment, Art for Humanity, Art Is A Human Right, Art Solidarity, Art Therapy, Exhibition, Exhibition opening, Exhibitions, Ikhono LaseNatali, Somnyama Ngonyama, Somnyama Ngonyama at Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

2019 Aug. 19: 25 years of Democracy, Christianity and LGBTI+ Community.

by Tinashe Wakapila

Part One: 25 years of democracy as Christian LGBTI+ persons in South Africa, the Genesis “God created Adam and Eve, not Adam and Steve or madam and Eve” snort comment.

May 1996, South Africa became the first jurisdiction in the world to provide constitutional protection to Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Intersex + (LGBTI+) people, via section 9(3) of the South African Constitution, which disallows discrimination on race, gender, sexual orientation and other grounds.’ Taking this aspect in a Christian religious community an unfathomable door was opened to new interpretation and revelations of the new meaning of the word of God the bible. Oh yes! Just as the bible mentions in Matthew 18:18 “Truly I tell you, whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be lost in heaven” with regards to that, as the legislature had open arms, a shift in many set apart communities was moved, for example churches and houses of worshipping. This article is not subject to any wide range community research but just a small scale informed archive (Myself) from experiences and information I retained in mingling with the locals.

Of up to 8 Queer led churches, namely

Victory Ministry Church International (VMCI): Founded by Apostle Z.M Zungu and late wife N.L Zungu on the base of Isaiah 61 vs 1-3. With 8 + branches in the entire country.

Parable of hope (unsure of the founder)

God’s presence Ministries led by Bishop Mnteshane

Fountain of Life Ministries (unsure of the founders)

Ark of Joy (unsure of the founder)

Joy Divine by Joshua Mosuoe

House of worship led by Apostle Dladla

Deo Gloria led by Apostle Deoborah Bell and Prophetess Marietjie Geldenhyus (Just to mention a few).

South Africa has broken the barriers no mankind in Africa has sort to. The Christian community strongly believed, (from a narrative or revelation passed down from generation to generation of tamed context from misinformed lineage of mankind) that Heterosexuality is the only sexuality in the genetics of mankind. Which I do not condemn because the hiding of the (LGBT+) community caused by fear of being erased from existence through brutal killings of them gave them a silent voice.

‘God created Adam and Eve not Adam and Steve or madam and Eve’ this for centuries and decades was interpreted in a way that stipulated God’s ability of being a stiff one minded creator to make 1 man for every 1 woman. Which is impossible, Demographics of South Africa alone state that 15–64 years 65.8% (male 16,275,424/female 15,984,181), 65 and over 5.4% (male 1,075,117/female 1,562,860) (2010 est.) . {Hold the thought} God does not make mistakes also comes as a supporting statement to the reason behind why people have to not be Homosexual because God created Adam and Eve. With mind and statement in thought it raises questionable doubt the issue of mankind creation must be used to condemn Homosexuality.

Not that statistics says be homosexual, but this is pure evidence that the Adam and Eve theory has been a wrong tool to use to say NO to homosexuality. Abused by self-righteous hypocritical Christians to put in dismay queer beings proves it is but just an insane and untrue judgement.

Most biblical abusive offenses to ridicule lgbti+ community in pursuit to detach us from the Christian community and demonize us is useless and personalized. In the 25 yrs of democracy I best believe a spiritual realm of open minded teachings of the context rose. The examples of them being useless has been proven because we have Queer led churches in South Africa that are successfully leading queer people to Christ, Victory Ministry Church International being proof, in particular I am a part of it. Having that church describes to me as an individual how democracy evolved in a blanket of acceptance for all.

Coming back to interpretation of the 25 years of democracy to the lgbti+ community arising to a better glory. I will tackle this article in the Christian/Spiritual religion aspect of this 25 years of democracy for the {LGBTIQ+} persons. The ground breaking of the whole ideology behind heterosexuality not being the only sexuality has been not really welcomed in the Christian Community. It has been a bumpy journey, accumulated lgbtiq+ identifying persons into the realm and challenges starting with because of a long time of rejection and condemnation queer people resorted to next best belief they could reach out to eg. Traditional Religion too.

“When you are spiritually connected, you are not looking for occasions to be offended, and you are not judging and labelling others. You are is a state of grace in which you know you are connected to God and thus free from the effects of anyone or anything external to yourself.” Wayne Dyer

“Judge not, that you be not judged. For the judgment you pronounce you will be judged unto, and with the measure you use it will be measured to you. Why do you see the speck that is in your brother’s eye, but do not notice the log that is in your own eye? Or how can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your own eye, when there is the log in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your brother’s eye” Matthew 7:1-5

“If someone isn’t what others want them to be, the others become angry. Everyone seems to have a clear idea of how other people should lead their lives, but none about his or her own” Paulo Coelho, The alchemist.

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Posted in Article by Tinashe Wakapila, Bethany Baptist Church, Church, Church is not the closet, Churches, Dr (Pastor) Z. Zungu (VMCI), Pastor Z. Zungu of VMCI, Religion, South African Council of Churches, Uncategorized, Victory Ministries Church International, Victory Ministry Church International, Zion Church | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

2019 Aug. 16: Indima ye Faces and Phases.

Text and images by Siba Nkumbi

“We ́re faces and phases, and we are not misbehaving”_ Annalyzer music

Lamazwi angentla abamba ubunono, ukuzingca nkenkcubeko eyimbali engaxolisiyo kwaye ingenaspheno kunjalo nje iyinyaniso emsulwa kuphela. Le mbali iluhambo olungakhange lubelula kodwa ke ngemfefe zomdali namandla wamanyange side safika kwesisigaba seshumi elinesithathu sishumayela le vangeli.

Nonkululeko Dube 4C2A5282

Annalyzer next to her portrait is one of the participants who gave a stunning performance © Nonkululeko Dube

Ngoko ke ngochulumanco olugcwele ukuchwayitha ndivumeleni ndixhentse ndizombelela kule inyanga yekhala exhabashe izipho eyininyi kulomnyaka ka 2019. Ewe kaloku lomha wamashumi amabini kule imiyo sibiyozela isigaba seshumi elinesithathu sikulendima ye Faces and Phases. Ngeba ndiyanaba ngolwimi olu ndibhala ngalo kodwa ke ngexhala lokuba umzalezo ngulo uzakulahleka namazwi iyiyo ke imbhangi yokuba ndifake elo lwimi likhumshileyo apha naphaya kuba ke kaloku alitshoni lingenadaba. Masirhabuleni singafinci..

Lomhla ngumhla womboniso bhanya bhanya oze ubuso ngobuso, obonisa uhambo olunembali engenakuze iphikiswe nangubani. Kwaye iyimbali esizingcayo ngayo kudla ngokuthiwa kwaXhosa xa kwehle into embi maxa wambi ihle endlini kuthwe ukufa kusembizeni. Mandithathe lamazwi ndiwafake ukukhanya ndithi UKUFA KUSEMBIZENI. Ewe kaloku oluhambo lubonisa ukutshabalala kocalucalulo kuthi thina be LGBTIQ+ ngoko ke unobangela kukudinwa nokunganyamezeli ukukhatywa singenabhola ngenxa yesimo esidaliweyo kwaye siphila phantsi kwaso, asixolisi kwaye singazithobi kodwa sinqonqozisa ubukho nokuphila kwethu apha emphakathini njengeyidalwa zenkosi namanyange. Lithi iculo lama AME icawa 121 (Akwaba sendivuma) kuthwa yahlukana nayo inkohlakalo yakho uye kwantliziyo ndise mntasekhaya.


Mandinabe kancinci ngembali nenkxwaleko esiphila ngaphantsi kwazo ngenxa yokuthanda eibathandayo.

“Andinaxesha lalekaka uyenzayo lesbian ndini, okusalayo ndiyakuthanda kwaye ndifuna ndingakumithisa”
“Awuyondoda udinga nje ukuboniswa ungumfazi”
“Ndithanda ndingakuxhwila ndiyayazi xa usele ibhiya ezintathu unxila ugoduke, ndiyakulindela ekoneni phantsi kwalamthi umkhulu”

“Mfondin uzawthini ungabaweleki, uyayaz nam ndiyindoda”
“Ngenye imini sawze sidibane kwirhanga engaphumeliyo ndukubonise abantu”

Lamazwi ngamazwi asuka ebantwini angamadoda egrogrisa Lesbians kuba kaloku kuthiwa lento siyenzayo ayidalwanga, ima ndiyinqonqoyisise lendaba ndithi lamazwi athethwe kum ndisiva kwaye ndaziva ndihlukumezekile. Into endizama ukuyitsho wena mfundi kukuba

iyandibhida into yabantu aboyika into abangayaziyo. Andingomdali kwaye andigwebi wena.

mAzania omhle ngokonje ndicela ithuba lokuvala kwamawi ethu ngalemini inkulu zomhla wamashumi amabini kule imiyo.

Muholi is not only exhibiting pictures as a photographer, these are untold stories only visible to those that are willing to open their eyes and see, untie their laces to no longer run from the truth, learn how to love for they know better now. Below are pictures of queer people happy and free, my only wish is for these moments zibe sisiqhelo imihla ngemihla.

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Posted in A decade of Faces and Phases, Eight years of photographing Faces and Phases, Faces & Phases portraits, Faces and Phases (2006 - 2014) book launch..., Faces and Phases (2006 - 2014) book review, Faces and Phases (2006-14), Faces and Phases (2006-2014) introduction, Faces and Phases 10, Faces and Phases 13, faces and phases exhibition, Faces and Phases participant, Faces and Phases project, Featuring in Faces and Phases (2006 - 2014). Left - Right Dorothy Magone, Previous Faces and Phases book launches, Uncategorized, When Faces meet, When Faces Meet and Travel | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment