Who is your audience?
by Zanele Muholi
My audience is not here.
My audience is those people who look at two lesbian women in a photo and say that it is a shock: ‘Oh my God, don’t show that!’ That is my audience.
I don’t know who my audience is.
I know that I have brothers who give me a space to showcase my work, but then I don’t know how far or how safe other spaces can become. We are at a gallery here. My audience is at the station, at Gugs [Gugulethu] taxi rank, where a different mindset occupies that space. That’s the audience, or that’s the space that I’d like to penetrate.
You have different kinds of audiences in different spaces occupying different positions in this country, and I happen to interact with all those audiences.
The president is my audience. And a whole lot of other Zulu men who might not agree with my images, because Zulu men don’t dress up like that.
I’m still looking for my audience.
[ENDNOTE] This is an edited version of Zanele Muholi’s response to a question at a public talk hosted by Michael Stevenson Gallery, April 23, 2010 and originally appeared in Art South Africa magazine, Issue 8.4, June 2010. Thanks to the editors, publishers and author for this collaboration.