Sifikile, Nuoro, Italy

Zanele Muholi, South African, born 1972


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Gelatin silver print

8 / 8

Frame: 28 11/16 × 18 3/4 × 1 3/4 in. (72.9 × 47.6 × 4.4 cm)

Sheet: 27 1/2 × 17 3/4 in. (69.9 × 45.1 cm)

Hood Museum of Art, Dartmouth: Purchased through the Florene and Lansing Porter Moore 1937 Fund; Selected by participants in the seminar "Museum Collecting 101": Huy Dang, Class of 2019, Farid Djamalov, Class of 2021, Yon Jee Hong, Class of 2016, Sophia Linkas, Class of 2021, Armando Pulido Jr., Class of 2019, Hanna K. Riendeau, Cecilia Duran Torres, Class of 2018, Iris L. Wang, Class of 2020, Lydia Yeshitla, Class of 2021, and Kimberly Yu, Class of 2018

© Zanele Muholi. Courtesy of the artist, Yancey Richardson, New York, and Stevenson Cape Town / Johannesburg


Portfolio / Series Title

Somnyama Ngonyama (MaID)


Place Made: South Africa, Southern Africa, Africa


21st century

Object Name


Research Area



Not on view


Zanele Muholi’s adorned hairstyle, powerful gaze, and darkened skin stand out in Sifikile, Nuoro, Italy—a self- portrait from the artist’s series Somnyama Ngonyama (Hail the Dark Lioness). The series began as a way for Muholi to process feelings about their own encounters with racism. Often taken while traveling, the portraits feature everyday items that reference specific events in their life or South Africa’s political history, such as safety pins, tape, and—as seen here—scissors.

Darkening their skin, Muholi calls attention to the fact that, in their words, "the black body itself is the material. The black body that is ever scrutinised and violated and undermined." Yet they meet the viewer with a powerful gaze, asserting their agency and autonomy in a critical response to heteronormative, patriarchal, and White- supremacist constructions of Black queer bodies.

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

Course History

PORT 8, Brazilian Portraits, Carlos Minchillo, Winter 2020

WGSS 10.01, Sex, Gender and Society, Douglas Moody, Winter 2021

First Year Student Enrichment Program, Francine A'Ness, Summer 2021

First Year Student Enrichment Program, Doug Moody, Summer 2021

THEA 10.64/AAAS 54.05/WGSS 66.15, Feminist and Queer Africa on Stage and Screen, Laura Edmondson, Winter 2022

GEOG 72.01/AAAS 67.50/WGSS 66.09, Black Consciousness Black Feminism, Abby Neely, Spring 2022

WGSS 16.01, Contemporary Issues in Feminism, Mingwei Huang, Spring 2021

Writing Program 5.25, Photographic Representations, Amanda Wetsel, Winter 2023

Writing Program 5.24, Photographic Representations, Amanda Wetsel, Winter 2023

Humanities 2.01, The Modern Labyrinth, Lucas Hollister, Petra McGillen, Andrea Tarnowski, Laura Edmondson, Winter 2023

First Year Student Enrichment Program – Culture, Identity, and Belongings, Francine A'Ness, Summer 2023

First Year Student Enrichment Program - Culture, Identity, and Belongings, Doug Moody, Summer 2023

Writing 5.24, Photographic Representations, Amanda Wetsel, Fall 2023

Writing 5.25, Photographic Representations, Amanda Wetsel, Fall 2023

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.


The artist; Yancey Richardson Gallery, New York, New York; sold to present collection, 2018.

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