by Lerato Dumse
Zanele Muholi is the latest honoree for the 2016 Courage and Creativity award. Africa’s Out, an initiative by Wangechi Mutu conferred the award to this talented photographer and activist. The exciting ceremony was hosted at Pioneer Works, New York City (NYC) on June 3rd 2016. Mutu who is a renowned artist in her own right, recognized her fellow African for the photography work Muholi has produced tackling issues of race, gender and sexuality.
This courage and creativity honor saw Muholi travel back to NYC to collect her second award in less than two months. In April the talented artist was given the highly respected Infinity award in the category Photojournalism. Muholi is widely known for her hard work in merging art and activism, while documenting black members of the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Intersex (LGBTI) community in her country of birth South Africa.
Friday’s award comes just as Muholi is gearing up to celebrate 10 years since she began working on Faces and Phases back in 2006. The series comprises of more than 250 black and white portraits of black lesbians and transgender individuals from South Africa and other African countries.
Now in its second year, this annual celebration is created to benefit Africa’s Out initiatives. The dress code for 2016 was Bougie Jungle and guests were invited to arrive by 6pm for cocktails, artwork preview and a silent auction.
This is not the first time Muholi has been part of this initiative, last year along with other African artists, she donated a print that was auctioned during the inaugural ceremony. Keeping with the same spirit, other African artists have added their work in 2016, and it will be auctioned at the Amref Art Ball taking place in NYC on June 8. Africa’s Out objective in raising these funds is to help strengthen “health systems in local level in countries throughout sub-Saharan Africa.”
Mutu who is the driving force behind this initiative was born in Nairobi, Kenya. She is widely known as an artist and sculptor seen as an “important contemporary African artists of recent years.”
Binyavanga Wainaina was the 2015 recipient of the first Africa’s OUT award.