Side by Side: Kehinde Wiley & Zanele Muholi

Khi Baldwin, on bklyn boihood makes the connection between the “queer portraiture of Zanele’s photography and Kehinde Wiley’s paintings

“In thinking about how dope it is to see Muholi’s representations of queer people of color, it reminded me of seeing Kehinde Wiley’s portrait work for the first time. And although one medium is painting and the other photography, there is something strikingly similar about both artists work. From the emotions captured, to the background textures and contrast, the work, for me creates a similarly captivating feeling. And while Muholi’s subjects are queer and Wiley’s undertones and perspective inherently is, I think both artists create unique modern depictions of queer portraiture. Wiley is quoted as saying: “That’s partly the success of my work–the ability to have a young black girl walk into the brooklyn museum and see paintings she recognizes not because of their art or historical influence but because of their inflection.” I think both artists’ work have this same effect — they create a certain amount of visibility that didn’t previously exist that allows people to see themselves reflected within the work.