by Lerato Dumse
It has been a good start to 2016 for Zanele Muholi, who is selected as an honouree for the 32nd annual Infinity Awards. The International Center of Photography (ICP) made the announcement beginning of February and the ceremony will be held in New York City on April 11, 2016.
The announcement comes a week before the acclaimed photographer is due to collect an Outstanding International Alumni Award from Ryerson University in Toronto, Canada. In 2010 Muholi graduated with a Master of Fine Arts in Documentary Media at the institution.
The award winning photographer, artist and activist from Umlazi, in Durban South Africa, has managed to build a name by documenting black members of her LGBTI community. It was her exhibition at the Brooklyn Museum that impressed the Infinity panel that selected the winner in the documentary and photojournalism category. Her solo exhibition titled Isibonelo/Evidence was mounted from May to November 2015 at the Elizabeth A. Sackler Center for Feminist Art.
Isibonelo/Evidence comprised of eighty-seven portraits produced by Muholi between 2007-2014 including her equally acclaimed award winning black and white portrait series Faces and Phases. The exhibition fused photos, videos and text by featuring same sex weddings and a timeline detailing the horrors of hate crime incidents, combined with personal testimonies.
Congratulations for Muholi have been coming in from far and wide for this award, which is “widely considered the leading honour for excellence in the field.” Infinity awards are also ICP’s largest annual fundraiser, supporting all of its programs, including exhibitions, education, collections, and community outreach.
Muholi is no stranger to the world of winning awards, she has won numerous awards including the Fine Prize for an emerging artist at the 2013 Carnegie International; a Prince Claus Award (2013); the Index on Censorship – Freedom of Expression art award (2013); and the Casa Africa award for best female photographer and a Fondation Blachère award at Les Rencontres de Bamako biennial of African photography (2009).
Her Faces and Phases series has shown at, among others, Documenta 13; the South African Pavilion at the 55th Venice Biennale; and the 29th São Paulo Biennale. She was shortlisted for the 2015 Deutsche Börse Photography Prize for her publication Faces and Phases: 2006-14 (Steidl/The Walther Collection).
Muholi is an Honorary Professor of the University of the Arts, Bremen.
Past recipients of the Infinity awards include Muholi’s mentor David Goldblatt, who also supported her financially to complete her MFA. As well as Berenice Abbott, Lynsey Addario, Richard Avedon, Henri Cartier-Bresson, Roy DeCarava, Elliott Erwitt, Harold Evans, Robert Frank, Adam Fuss, David Guttenfelder, Mishka Henner, André Kertész, Steven Klein, William Klein, Karl Lagerfeld, Annie Leibovitz, Helen Levitt, Mary Ellen Mark, Inez Van Lamsweerde and Vinoodh Matadin, Daidō Moriyama, Shirin Neshat, Gordon Parks, Sebastião Salgado, Malick Sidibé, Lorna Simpson, Mario Testino, and Ai Weiwei.
Full List of 2016 Recipients:
Lifetime Achievement: David Bailey
Art: Walid Raad
Artist’s Book: Matthews Connors, Fire in Cairo
OnlinePlatform and New Media: Jonathan Harris and Gregor Hochmuth for Network Effect
Documentary and photojournalism: Zanele Muholi
Writing and Research: Susan Schuppli