Who is art for? This is the question raised and confronted by the Women’s Mobile Museum, a mentorship program led by South African visual activist Zanele Muholi in partnership with the Philidelphia Photo Arts Center.
The WMM invited 10 underrepresented Philadelphia women to spend a year under the tutelage of Muholi, developing their photographic skills and making bodies of work with the kind of support that is so rarely lent to artists from outside the traditional identities found in museum collections. Throughout the program, the artists were provided mentorship and guidance in photography, video, museum studies, public speaking, and archive research. The artists used these tools to create bodies of work that assert their voices, stories, and their rights to claim equal stature on the mantle of art.
Here, we share the work from one of the artists in the program, afaq.
untitled [zola] / [zola] untitled
My work seeks to return, disrupt and disarm the western gaze. in taking control of my own image, I no longer have to choose between erasure and exotification. I use fabric to represent identity and the barriers I ‘face’ because of it. here and every day, I battle with religion, culture, blackness, love, gender, nationality, and what it means to be seen as other in a world of everyone else.
afaq is an artist living and working in Philadelphia, PA.
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