GROUND LEVEL, COLES COURT ADJOINING GALLERY 1
SOUTH AFRICA, BORN 1991
LIVES AND WORKS IN JOHANNESBURG
Photographer Phumzile Khanyile’s work considers the expression and exploration of female identity and sexuality. The four works included in NGV Triennial are from her most well-known body of work to date: the 2016 series Plastic Crowns. The photographs are self-portraits in which the artist broadly examines ideas about identity, sexuality, beauty and social expectations. Khanyile reflects on this series: ‘I explore beyond the tragic boundaries of what my grandmother would consider a ‘good woman’, probing stereotypical ideas of gender, sexual preference and related stigmas and their relevance in contemporary society. I am interested in how having multiple partners can be an expression of choice as opposed to it being an indicator of low morality, based on social conventions. This body of work is a journey of self-discovery.’
Phumzile Khanyile studied photography at the Market Photo Workshop in Johannesburg and in 2015 was awarded the Gisèle Wulfsohn Mentorship Prize. In this capacity she worked with American photographer Ayana V. Jackson and, under her mentorship, Khanyile created the 2016 series Plastic Crowns. Since this time, she has participated in several group exhibitions and held her first solo show in 2017. The following year Khanyile was awarded the Contemporary African Photography prize.
The NGV warmly thanks Triennial Major Supporter Bowness Family Foundation for their support.