Plastic Crowns


he Market Photo Workshop in partnership with the family and friends of the late Gisèle Wulfsohn are pleased to announce the exhibition launch of Plastic Crowns, a project by Phumzile Khanyile.
Phumzile is the recipient of the 2015 Gisèle Wulfsohn Mentorship in Photography.

The mentorship is set out as a developmental platform and opportunity to continue activism through photography in the spirit of Gisèle Wulfsohn.

Ayana V. Jackson, a renowned American photographer and filmmaker mentored Phumzile through this process.

Plastic Crowns stems from the idea of taking a perceived “prestigious” ornament as a royal or beauty pageant crown and turning it into an object that anyone can purchase and enthrone themselves to be royalty for a day. It is the journey of deciding who you are: the constant conception and reinvention of oneself. This body of work probes stereotypical ideas of gender, sexual preference and related stigmas and their relevance in contemporary society. It questions how having multiple partners can be an expression of choice as opposed to it being an indicator of low morality, based on societal conventions. The work concerns itself with being at an intersection between traditional and contemporary culture and how the photographer finds herself wrestling with the contestation of this in-between space.

About Phumzile Khanyile

Phumzile Khanyile was born in Soweto. She enrolled at the Market Photo Workshop in August 2013 and successfully completed the Foundation Course, Intermediate Course and Advanced Programme in Photography Course.

In 2015 she was awarded the Gisèle Wulfsohn Mentorship and her body of work “1411 Mohapi Street” went on to be show cased as part of a group exhibition at Kalashnikovv Gallery titled “Seeing through the complexities of difference”.

In 2016 Phumzile began working with her Mentor Ayana. V. Jackson in developing this body of work for the Gisèle Wulfsohn Mentorship. In the same year, she was showcased at the Joburg Art Fair in the Market Photo Workshop booth and was part of the panel at the Market Theatre 40 Year Celebration event. She was also one of the 10 participants in Photo:’s inaugural 10:10

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