A Study of Femininity: A radically soft portraiture project subverting the abject - PHmuseum

A Study of Femininity: A radically soft portraiture project subverting the abject

Cole Ndelu

2019 - Ongoing

Johannesburg, Gauteng, South Africa

My work undermines the power of the school of thought that associates femininity and blackness with anything other than beauty, resilience and power. The abject is feared because it disturbs the norm, ie; hegemonic masculinity, whiteness and heteronormativity and that’s the intention of this work - to disturb, to challenge ways of seeing those who are othered and to challenge ways of being. As someone who is unapologetic in her femininity, I believe in creating conditions that allow my sitters to be soft, sensual and vulnerable.

Everyone that I have photographed, so far, has stepped out of their comfort zone and has shared and trusted me with their body. It takes courage to bear your flesh to someone; they cast off their fears, apprehensions and they’re adorned in truth, beauty, colour and flowers.

The use of flowers is intentional because they’re a direct link to nature, which like femininity is fluid, vibrant and diverse. I also use the flowers to add texture, levels of depth and contrast to the series.

My series is aligned with what I consider to be the purpose of my work as an artist - which is to create work that celebrates and honours the marginalised.

I believe that the images that I have selected showcase my perspective and highlight my skills as a photographer and art director. This is project is a work in progress but I believe that the images submitted showcase my thinking and the projects potential.

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  • A Study of Femininity: Gabriela Mc Gowan

  • A Study of Femininity: Sami Maseko

  • A Study of Femininity: George Pailman

  • A Study of Femininity: Mpumelelo "Frypan" Mfula

  • A Study of Femininity: Mamthug


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