Umasifanisane II (Comparison II) from The Self Portrait Project (2007/2013)

Nomusa Makhubu, South African, born 1984


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Archival digital print on 35 gsm Hanhnemule cotton photo museum paper


Image: 17 15/16 × 12 1/16 in. (45.5 × 30.7 cm)

Sheet: 23 7/16 × 16 9/16 in. (59.5 × 42.1 cm)

Hood Museum of Art, Dartmouth: Purchased through the Julia L. Whittier Fund

© Nomusa Makhubu



Place Made: South Africa, Southern Africa, Africa


21st century

Object Name


Research Area



Not on view


Signed, lower left, in graphite: NOMUSA MAKHUBU; inscribed, lower center, in graphite: UMASIFANISANE II (2013); inscribed, lower right, in graphite: AP


In Umasifanisane II (Comparison II), Nomusa Makhubu projects onto her own body a colonial photograph of an African woman with albinism holding an infant. By collapsing a historical photo with her contemporary presence, Makhubu asks us to consider the legacy of the colonial history symbolized by the earlier image, as well as its impact today. The artist has said:

Even though it is my body depicted in these works, rather than being explorations of the self, the project explores the representation of African women. Colonial photography is the documentation of violation and the terror of dispossession. Reenacting these scenes brought me closer to this terror. For me, the past is living memory—this work is a way of coming to terms with the persistence of the same repressive structures.

From the 2022 exhibition Embodied: Artist as Medium, curated by Isadora Italia, Campus Engagement Manager

Course History

SART 17.9, The Photographer as Activist: Making Art Inspired by the Hood Museum's Collection, Virginia Beahan, Winter 2015

Exhibition History

Embodied: Artist as Medium, Isadora Italia, MALS Class of 2022, Sol LeWitt Wall, Hood Museum of Art, Dartmouth College, Hanover, New Hampshire, October 1–December 17, 2022.

Inventory: New Works and Conversations around African Art, Friends Gallery/Owen Robertson Cheatham Gallery, Hood Museum of Art, Dartmouth College, Hanover, New Hampshire, January 16-March 13, 2016.


Erdmann Contemporary, Cape Town, South Africa; sold to present collection, 2014.

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