Dazibao Prize

On October 13, 2017



Since 2007, the Dazibao Prize has been awarded to an artist participating in MOMENTA | Biennale de l'image, whose work has stood out for its conceptual rigour, its relevance, and its contribution to image-based practices. The recipient of the prize is invited to produce a book for Dazibao’s Les portables series. The result of a meticulous two years of work, the book is launched at the following edition of the biennale at the same time as the announcement of that edition’s recipient. Dedicated exclusively to a project by one artist, each title in this series acts as a travelling exhibition with unlimited circulation. The Dazibao Prize has been awarded to Gustavo Artigas (2007), Zineb Sedira (2009), Jim Verburg (2011), Suzy Lake (2013), and Liam Maloney (2015).

For the 2017 edition of MOMENTA | Biennale de l'image ― What Does the Image Stand For? and under the direction of Ami Barak, it gives us great pleasure to recognize the exceptional quality of the work of Zanele Muholi. In a practice fundamentally embedded in its own purpose, the artist/activist inscribes her personal history as a black woman, lesbian, and South-African within a collective history, attesting to a presence and to realities often obscured. Though situated in an established photographic tradition, Muholi’s work seems deliberately designed to disregard discourses on the image, in order to focus clearly on its content and message. Presented in a remarkable fashion at Centre CLARK, the exhibition Selected Portraits by Zanele Muholi is one to remember, and undoubtedly stands as a promising premise towards the creation of a book. 


France Choinière, director of Dazibao, wishes to thank in particular Nika Khanjani and Michaela Grill for their contribution to the Dazibao Award.

Zanele Muholi (1972) is a visual activist and photographer born in Umlazi, Durban, and living in Johannesburg. She co-founded the Forum for Empowerment of Women (FEW) in 2002, and in 2009 founded Inkanyiso, a forum for queer and visual (activist) media. Zanele Muholi has had solo exhibitions at the Mead Art Museum (Amherst), Gallatin Galleries (New York), Open Eye Gallery (Liverpool), and the Brooklyn Museum (New York). Recent group shows include Art/Afrique, the new workshop at the Fondation Louis Vuitton (Paris, 2017) and Personae at the FotoFocus Biennial, held at the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center (Cincinnati, 2016). Awards include the ICP Infinity Award for Documentary and Photojournalism (2016). She is represented by the Stevenson Gallery (Cape Town, Johannesburg) and the Yancey Richardson Gallery (New York).

Dazibao receives financial support from the Conseil des arts et des lettres du Québec, the Canada Council for the Arts, the Conseil des arts de Montréal, the ministère de la Culture et des Communications and the Ville de Montréal.