On display around the gallery this February.
The 2006 – 10 ‘Faces and Phases’ series of black-and-white portraits by Zanelle Muholi focuses on the commemoration and celebration of black lesbians’ lives. Muholi embarked on this project in 2006, taking portraits of women from the townships in South Africa. In 2008, after the xenophobic and homophobic attacks that led to the mass displacement of people in that country, she decided to expand the ongoing series to include photographs of women from different countries. Collectively, the portraits are an act of visual activism. Depicting women of various ages and backgrounds, this gallery of images offers a powerful statement about the similarities and diversity that exist within the human race.
Passion meets purpose in this body of work. Muholi aspires to see black queers – a section of society that includes gay and transgender people – receive the same recognition and basic human rights, in what she deems a heterosexual society. Her purpose is fulfilled by her use of her visual activism – to give a voice and put a face to the plight faced by black queers, especially black lesbians.
In 1996, South Africa’s constitution made it illegal to discriminate against any citizen, based on sexual orientation. This effort means that South Africa has a healthy number of individuals who are out and living their most authentic lives. This is true for some but not for the queers in the predominantly black townships. The constitution does not seem to cover them because according to Muholi, “We experience rape from gangs, rape by so called friends, neighbours and sometimes even family members.”
She decries the lack of police involvement when such cases are reported and the lack of recourse to the justice system. The townships have been plagued by ‘curative rapes’ because some men have taken it upon themselves to ‘teach’ lesbians the ‘African way’ of life. A bulk of black society has not accepted that there are people who are genetically ‘different’.
9 photos from the series are on display at the gallery’s mezzanine level at top of the staircase at Floor 1 and in COSTA COFFEE. Part of LGBT History Month 2012 http://lgbthistorymonth.org.uk/.
Turning Point West Midlands was set up in 2010. It is a network that aims to strengthen the visual arts in the region through working with artists, arts organisations and national agencies. Writing West Midlands is the region’s literature development agency, supporting creative writers and the development of creative writing. This commission is a first collaboration between the two organisations, designed to showcase new ways for artists and writers to work together.
Turning Point West Midlands and Writing West Midlands are delighted to announce this unique commission for a visual artist and creative writer working together. The commission will fund a visual artist and a creative writing to undertake a road trip in the West Midlands and to produce art work (visual art / creative writing) in response to this experience.
The West Midlands region is home to 11 % of the population of England and encompasses a wide variety of communities and landscapes. The exact route taken is up to the visual artist and creative writer although we would like the journey to cover a range of parts of the region. The route could be pre-planned, entirely random, or a mixture of the two. We want the visual artist and creative writer to visit places and meet people along the way, effecting dialogues in various ways, perhaps through impromptu drop-ins or by joining gatherings already planned in advance…
We are asking that a record of the journey is made, treating it as a road trip and conveying some of the chance encounters, the thoughts, the conversations, and the moving through the landscapes. We would like some permanent record of the journey; moving image, audio, broadcast, writing or photography, as well as public interaction through a blog, facebook and/or twitter. Other visual art and creative writing work might be produced, although these would need to be completed within the overall time period for the commission. There may be opportunities for work produced to be exhibited or shared following the project.
The journey can be made by whatever means the artist and the writer wish to use: by car, by public transport, by canal, by bicycle or by foot or by a combination of means. Turning Point West Midlands and Writing West Midlands, in addition to funding will help promote the project and the artist and writer involved and will offer some support in managing the commission.
Budget, Timescale and Copyright
A total budget of £4,000 is being offered for the project to be split between the visual artist and the creative writer (by agreement) and to include all materials, travel and subsistence. The commission should be undertaken in March or April 2012 and must be completed by 30th April 2012. We anticipate that the journey will take up to four days (consecutively or in separate blocks) and that a similar amount of time will be given to producing artworks and writing in response. The artist and writer will own and have copyright to the work they produce, and will allow Turning Point West Midlands and Writing West Midlands to use images and text to promote the project. We will credit the artist and writer at all times.
How to Apply
Applicants without a collaborator
As the period for application for this commission is very short we do not have time to create a mechanism for putting visual artists and creative writers in contact with each other. However we will be using the Twitter hashtag #roadtripwm so feel free to tweet with requests to find a visual artist or creative writing using this hashtag.
Please submit a proposal outlining your ambitions for this commission. This should be no longer than two sides of A4 and should include the following:
• The anticipated route of your journey and proposed means of travel
• Proposals for creating dialogue as part of the journey
• The form(s) of visual art and creative writing that you propose to use while travelling and after the journey
• The anticipated visual art and creative writing to be made as a result of the journey
Please also submit a CV giving details of visual art and creative writing work. A small number of images and no more than two sides of A4 of creative writing may also be submitted or/and links to work on digital platforms. All applications will be treated in confidence.
Please submit to: Wendy Law, Turning Point WM, firstname.lastname@example.org.
The deadline for submission is 5pm Monday 20th February 2012.
We will endeavour to make a decision by Monday 27th February 2012.