Engaging with the language of theatre, Muholi interprets various characters and archetypes, using wigs, outfits and props. By darkening her skin and sometimes lightening her lips, she has enhanced her physical features in an assertion of her black identity, forcing the viewer to question their role in gazing at her.
For instance, in 'Thembekile, Parktown', 2015, an electrical cord is draped round her neck and worn as a necklace. Her troubled expression alludes to the discomfit that black women felt when they were snapped by western travel photographers. Meanwhile, the furs in the background of 'Bakhambile, Parktown (2016)' comment on trophy hunting, while the sensual character with a mane of hair is the “exotic female” caught on camera.
Muholi also looks at internal struggles that have happened in post-apartheid South Africa.
This complex, psychologically charged series sees Muholi interrogating her identity as a black woman and her role as a South African photographer. Through revisiting the history of black personhood in photography, she is affirming her place, as an activist, within it.