Phumzile Khanyile, Nomvo, 2016, Archival Pigment Print, 80 x 109 cm / 31 x 43 in, Edition of 8, Courtesy AFRONOVA GALLERY
Phumzile Khanyile, Nomvo, 2016, Archival Pigment Print, 80 x 109 cm / 31 x 43 in, Edition of 8, Courtesy AFRONOVA GALLERY 

Phumzile Khanyile is a Johannesburg-based photographer and Market Photo Workshop graduate originally from Soweto. Phumzile’s work explores the lives of women through evocations of her own experiences; breaking down social taboos in its explicit exploration of sexual politics. There is little distinction between her craft and her own life in the images, which read like a private journal of candid snapshots. Her gritty aesthetic, characterized by its dark contours, soft focus, and lush textures, lends her work its notable emotive quality. As the recipient of the 2015 Gisèle Wulfsohn Mentorship in photography – a development scheme supporting activism through photography in the spirit of late South African documentary photographer Gisèle Wulfsohn – Khanyile produced a body of work under the guidance of artist Ayana V. Jackson. What followed was Plastic Crowns, a series of self-portraits through which a strong narrative in a striking visual language is threaded. The series was exhibited at The Photo Workshop Gallery in Newtown (2017).