Cummer Museum debuts new race and representation photography exhibition

The Somnyama Ngonyama, which translates to Hail The Dark Lioness, is a new exhibition at the Cummer Museum that explores race, identity and social justice. The exhibition opens today.

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – An internationally renowned exhibition that explores embracing the black experience is on display in Jacksonville.

The photography exhibition Somnyama Ngonyama, Hail The Dark Lioness opens Thursday, April 15 at the Cummer Museum.

Visual activist Zanele Muholi uses their body as a canvas to confront the deeply personal politics of race and representation.

The collection of black and white photos poses a question about social injustice, human rights, and also expresses what they call a reclaiming of their blackness-- and how others can do the same.

While Somnyama Ngonyama, Hail The Dark Lioness is primed and centered around the black experience, the museum’s chief curator says Muholi encourages viewers of all cultures to ask themselves critical questions about empathy, courage, and the power of each and every voice.

“At the Cummer Museum, we like to offer different types of art and media, but also art that is made in different geographical locations, across different time periods to make the story of us, as a culture, as a society, come to life through art,” Cummer Museum Chief Curator Holly Keris said.

More than 80 works are on display in the exhibition until June. Jacksonville is the exhibition’s final stop in the United States on its global tour.