Muholi’s work has been exhibited in three important art biennales in the world since 2010 including the 29th São Paulo Biennial, dOCUMENTA 13, the 55th & 58th Venice Biennale. Her work is now shown in the 22nd Biennale of Sydney.
Muholi’s three important series are Faces and Phases (2006-), Somnyama Ngonyama, Hail the Dark Lioness (2012-) and Brave Beauties (2014-). As Muholi was aware of the absence of LGBTQ community from the visual history, Faces and Phases began few months before same-sex marriage was recognized in South Africa during 2006. Muholi chose to photograph people she knows including black lesbians, transsexuals and non-binary people from South Africa. She maintained those relationships and produced follow up images in different periods for building living archive.
Later, the series of Somnyama Ngonyama, Hail the Dark Lioness started in 2012. Owning multiple cultural identities – female, black and queer, Muholi uses her body to respond to racism in today’s global society. Every self-portrait is named in Zulu, her mother language. Also, every self-portrait is full of unique visual symbol and atmosphere. Symbolized objects such as scouring pads, clothespins and washing machine tubes are linked to and associated with the issues of race, gender, labor, global economies, ideas of beauty and the environment. Those represent her journey and exploration in her self-representation and its possibility.
The series of Brave Beauties was brought to life in 2014, the year of South Africa’s 20th anniversary of democracy. The subjects in the portraits are transsexual women from different parts of South Africa. Most of them have won community-based beauty pageants. In LGBTQ community, beauty pageant is a cultural event including music and dance performances to enhance the understandings of LGBTQ’s history and experience.