Butch & Menstruation is Art

From inkanyiso  photo documentary on a radical response to violence against Black lesbians by Zanele Muholi

As we continue to live and survive in troubled times as black lesbians in South Africa and within the continent, where rampant hate crimes and brutal killings of same gender loving women is rife. This ongoing project is an activist/artist’s radical response to that violence.

The passage in which we bleed
The passage where we are/ were born
The passage through which we become (wo)men?
The erotic passage meant to be aroused, is raped
The passage we love is hated and called names
The sacred passage is ever persecuted

I continue to bleed each time I read about rampant ‘curative rapes’ in my ‘democratic’ South Africa.
I bleed every time queer bodies are violated and refused citizenship due gender expression and sexual orientation within the African continent.
I constantly bleed when I hear about brutal murders of black lesbians in our townships and
surrounding areas.
I’m scarred and scared as I don’t know whose body will be next to be buried.
I bleed because our human rights are ripped.
I cry and bleed as mothers, lovers, friends, relatives lose their beloved ones,
let alone the children that become orphans because of trans/queerphobic violence.
We bleed, our life cycles invaded, we bleed against the will of our bodies and beings.

Each patterned piece in this series represents a ‘curative rape’ survivor or a victim of hate crime,
the physical and spiritual blood that is shed from our bodies.

 

2013 June 27:   Menstruation is Art

10h10 am

period 1 @ 06h00 DSCN5067

@18h00

period @ 12h46 DSCN5041

period 4 @ 14h21 DSCN5046

@14h21

period 4 @ 14h57 DSCN5049

@14h57

period 6 @ 14h59 DSCN5052

@14h59

period 7 @ 4h25 pm DSCN5054

@16h25

period 8 @ 11h59 DSCN5057

@11h59

period 9 @ DSCN5060

@15h49

period 11 @ 4h30 DSCN5062

@16h30

period 12 @ 4h32 pm DSCN5068

@16h32

period 13 @ 4h36 pm DSCN5080

@16h36

period 14 @ 4h37 DSCN5083

@16h47

period 14 @ 4h42 DSCN5098

@16h41

period 14 DSCN5088

@ 17h01

period 16 @ 5h24 DSCN5027

@ 17h54

Date:  3rd Feb. 2013
Location: Michel Bizot, Paris. FRANCE
Camera used: Nikon. COOLPIX S100
Exposure time: 1/25
Medium: Menstrual blood on A4 paper and serviette
Titled:  Each photo is time titled when the photo was captured.

These photos of my menstruation were in Feb. 2013 when I was in Paris.
It was a very cold day, snowing outside and I woke up bleeding with bad period pains. I decided to remain indoors for the whole day and visualized my menstruation.
Like I did before when I started photographing my menstrual blood.
I thought to myself how can I explain this to someone who might have different notions about being “butch” bleeding and suffering from menstrual pains. I turned the pain into a project. Later archived the pain.

Always torn (2005) by Zanele Muholi

Always torn (2005)
by Zanele Muholi

Ok. On a good day I use Always with wings.
Sometimes I use white serviette to produce better menstrual paintings with.
I go for 5 days straight with heavy flow on day 4.
I started my menstruation when I was eleven (11), which means that I’d have graduated with 4 degrees if one was praised for bleeding.
I’ve been bleeding and suffering from menstrual pains for more than 25 years. I left out some years because I just block it out of my head.

a friend said to me, "Phola ndod' uzoqina" English translation - Just Be Strong man. (2005)

a friend said to me, “Phola ndod’ uzoqina”
English translation – Just Be Strong man.
(2005)

In 1994 a gynecologist prescribed NovaSure contraceptive pills to stabilize the pains and also to help with my hormonal imbalance. Later on they got better and then I stopped taking them.
Early this year a butch friend recommended Mybulin coz she use it. It worked for 2 months and now it does not anymore.

This is project is not about that… but what it became

Read previous and see motifs exhibited at Blank projects in 2011 titled Isilumo Siyaluma (2006 – 2011)

Ummeli, 2011. Digital print on cotton rag of a digital collage of Menstrual blood stains.

Ummeli, 2011. Digital print on cotton rag of a digital collage of Menstrual blood stains.

What I said later… At the height of hate crimes and queercide in South Africa.

 

Click here to read statement