Khanyisile Mbongwa, If you take a picture of my lips I would have to kill myself, 2010 (detail)_ISANG Collection 

- Cape Town based Khanyisile Mbongwa uses movement, poetry, sculpture and collaborative photography to unpack issues around the identity of place, gender and racial politics. This performative photographic work developed from a conversation between Mbongwa and a sex worker a year after the civil war in Sri Lanka ended. The title is taken from the sex worker’s response to Mbongwa’s request to photograph her. To secure the interview, a financial transaction took place between Mbongwa and the sex worker’s ‘boyfriend’ (pimp). Although the conversation challenged many misconceptions about sex work and the sex worker’s freedom of choice – this woman in particular revealed that she had chosen sex work as a profession because she enjoyed sex and it was helping her save the money she needed to complete her studies – she still admitted to needing the protection of a boyfriend in her line of work. 
In these images, Mbongwa performs the role of the sex worker. She is half undressed, her face covered with a white shroud and chains are wrapped around her waist, suggesting a tension between identity and anonymity, self-determination and captivity, pleasure and violence.