2013 June 27: Butch & … Menstruation is Art

2013 June 27:   Menstruation is Art

10h10 am

period 1 @ 06h00 DSCN5067


period @ 12h46 DSCN5041

period 4 @ 14h21 DSCN5046


period 4 @ 14h57 DSCN5049


period 6 @ 14h59 DSCN5052


period 7 @ 4h25 pm DSCN5054


period 8 @ 11h59 DSCN5057


period 9 @ DSCN5060


period 11 @ 4h30 DSCN5062


period 12 @ 4h32 pm DSCN5068


period 13 @ 4h36 pm DSCN5080


period 14 @ 4h37 DSCN5083


period 14 @ 4h42 DSCN5098


period 14 DSCN5088

@ 17h01

period 16 @ 5h24 DSCN5027

@ 17h54

Date:  3rd Feb. 2013
Location: Michel Bizot, Paris. FRANCE
Camera used: Nikon. COOLPIX S100
Exposure time: 1/25
Medium: Menstrual blood on A4 paper and serviette
Titled:  Each photo is time titled when the photo was captured.

These photos of my menstruation were in Feb. 2013 when I was in Paris.
It was a very cold day, snowing outside and I woke up bleeding with bad period pains. I decided to remain indoors for the whole day and visualized my menstruation.
Like I did before when I started photographing my menstrual blood.
I thought to myself how can I explain this to someone who might have different notions about being “butch” bleeding and suffering from menstrual pains. I turned the pain into a project. Later archived the pain.

Always torn (2005) by Zanele Muholi

Always torn (2005)
by Zanele Muholi

Ok. On a good day I use Always with wings.
Sometimes I use white serviette to produce better menstrual paintings with.
I go for 5 days straight with heavy flow on day 4.
I started my menstruation when I was eleven (11), which means that I’d have graduated with 4 degrees if one was praised for bleeding.
I’ve been bleeding and suffering from menstrual pains for more than 25 years. I left out some years because I just block it out of my head.

a friend said to me, "Phola ndod' uzoqina" English translation - Just Be Strong man. (2005)

a friend said to me, “Phola ndod’ uzoqina”
English translation – Just Be Strong man.

In 1994 a gynecologist prescribed NovaSure contraceptive pills to stabilize the pains and also to help with my hormonal imbalance. Later on they got better and then I stopped taking them.
Early this year a butch friend recommended Mybulin coz she use it. It worked for 2 months and now it does not anymore.

This is project is not about that… but what it became

Read previous and see motifs exhibited at Blank projects in 2011 titled Isilumo Siyaluma (2006 – 2011)

Ummeli, 2011. Digital print on cotton rag of a digital collage of Menstrual blood stains.

Ummeli, 2011. Digital print on cotton rag of a digital collage of Menstrual blood stains.

What I said later… At the height of hate crimes and queercide in South Africa.

As we continue to live and survive in troubled times as black lesbians in South Africa and within the continent, where rampant hate crimes and brutal killings of same gender loving women is rife. This ongoing project is an activist/artist’s radical response to that violence.

The passage in which we bleed
The passage where we are/ were born
The passage through which we become (wo)men?
The erotic passage meant to be aroused, is raped
The passage we love is hated and called names
The sacred passage is ever persecuted

I continue to bleed each time I read about rampant ‘curative rapes’ in my ‘democratic’ South Africa.
I bleed every time queer bodies are violated and refused citizenship due gender expression and sexual orientation within the African continent.
I constantly bleed when I hear about brutal murders of black lesbians in our townships and
surrounding areas.
I’m scarred and scared as I don’t know whose body will be next to be buried.
I bleed because our human rights are ripped.
I cry and bleed as mothers, lovers, friends, relatives lose their beloved ones,
let alone the children that become orphans because of trans/queerphobic violence.
We bleed, our life cycles invaded, we bleed against the will of our bodies and beings.

Each patterned piece in this series represents a ‘curative rape’ survivor or a victim of hate crime,
the physical and spiritual blood that is shed from our bodies.

Click here to read statement


Click here for more motifs

This entry was posted in Africa, Another Approach Is Possible, Archived memories, Art Solidarity, As we are, Before You, Black Lesbians, Black Lesbians & Allies Against Hate Crimes, Body Politics, Collectivism, Community, Creating awareness, Curative rapes, Evidence, Expression, Gender naming, Hate Crimes, We Care, We Still Can with/out Resources, Zanele Muholi and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

17 Responses to 2013 June 27: Butch & … Menstruation is Art

  1. Junie says:

    Man! Miss Muholi I bow…got too much respect for you and your work. I love how your art is shocking but the message is always so damn powerful. You are a gifted and amazing being..we need more activists/artists with your balls.

  2. Kopano says:

    Butch and Blood….
    The double B’s don’t stop here. Powerful message indeed…

    Sisonke Baba

  3. clear peaceful mind says:

    Well… I love art and I definitely without any doubt find this very nasty!

  4. thenjiwe says:

    Beautiful. You work is amazing

    • Mawe says:

      The issue here is not about menstruation and art but breaking the stigma attached to Butches who might shy to discuss Period pains with their femmes as stated in Charmain previous article.
      I’ve noticed that it is easier for Black lesbians to talk about
      – soccer
      – discrimination
      – hate crimes
      … Other futile stuff than to engage on
      – Body politics

      The existing NGOs that serves women won’t even create that dialogue because founders won’t sponsor that but any ‘violent related or disease-d project.
      Why is that?
      Am looking fwd to attend platforms where Sexual pleasures, Body Politics and Sexuality are the main topic on agenda.
      We as black lesbians need not to be shy about that.
      Heterosexuals are open and happy to share their love lives in mainstream magazines.
      Why can’t we!

  5. Nomthandazo says:

    Everytime I see work done by Muholi and the Inkanyiso crew im left in awe…the depth in the artwork and the words that accompany it are phenomenal…Aluta

  6. Zama says:

    Wow, everytime I just want to read and read every post. Just wish it was a mag man.

  7. Pingback: 2013 July 16: Mo(u)rning in progress @ 26 | inkanyiso.org

  8. I always follow n read ur stories. I adore you a lot ZaH. Keep up the good work.

  9. Pingback: Butch & Menstruation is Art

  10. Pingback: 2013 Aug. 17: I bleed | inkanyiso.org

  11. Thulisile says:

    Uhm art neh never understood it hopefully someday I will, blood, menstruation for art rather disturbing for me but hey its art #eyes popped wide#

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  15. Your work is simply wonderful and powerful! I’m a performer and in this moment of my life i research about women’s blood! Many many thanks for your contributions to my researches!
    A day, when is possible I would love talk with you!

  16. bongie says:

    wow you are strong i like your strength thank you zah

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