Phumzile Khanyile

Born in Soweto in 1991. Lives and works in Johannesburg.

Phumzile Khanyile is a Market Photo Workshop graduate. She is the recipient of the 2015 Gisèle Wulfsohn Mentorship in Photography.

A series of self portraits, Plastic Crowns contains a strong narrative expressed through a striking visual language. Khanyile’s work explores aspects of women’s lives 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 informal snap shots made public. Her gritty aesthetic, characterized by harsh shadows, soft focus and lush textures, lends her work it’s notable emotive quality.

Since her debut exhibition at the Market Photo Workshop in 2017, Khanyile’s has been extensively featured in the press, The Financial Times, Aperture, The British Journal of Photography, Elephant, Art Africa Magazine. She has also been part of several exhibitions including AFROTOPIA, at the African Photography Encounters in Bamako; at the Africa Museum in Bergen Dal; Not the Usual Suspects, at Iziko South African National Gallery, Cape Town and Evora Africa, African Passions, at Palacio Cadaval in Evora. Her work features already in local and international collections, in Europe and the US.

Phumzile has been awarded the 2018 CAP Prize and has recently won the De Pietri Artphilein Foundation Photobook project. She was part of the prestigious NGV Triennale 2020 and more recently of the exhibition Dress Code at the Manuel Rivera-Ortiz Foundation in Arles, France, during the Arles Photo Encounters 2022.