Editor's Note

Self-portrait by Zanele Muholi

Zanele Muholi
Zwakala I, London 2019
Gelatin silver print on paper
60 × 50 cm

© Zanele Muholi, courtesy the artist and Stevenson, Cape Town/Johannesburg and Yancey Richardson, New York

As we welcome you all back into the recently re-opened galleries, we welcome you to our newly designed Tate Etc. magazine, which is also our 50th issue. In it you will find a mix of great new features that give you more access to artists and the way they work, as well as to fascinating behind-the-scenes activities at Tate.

This issue is a milestone, one that has arrived amid the seismic changes occurring over recent months. We all know that the long-lasting consequences of COVID-19 will be reshaping our lives for years to come, but the exact form this will take is still unclear.

In addition, the Black Lives Matter movement has refocused attention on the need for cultural institutions such as Tate to prioritise taking a responsible and proactive stance in helping to tackle the structural racism and inequalities that underpin society, and to confront our own shortcomings.

One voice for change is the visual activist Zanele Muholi, whose exhibition opens at Tate Modern this autumn. Since the early 2000s, Muholi’s powerful photographs have been telling stories of Black lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans, queer and intersex lives in South Africa, and this show also includes more recent, extraordinary self-portraits. Our cover features a portrait Muholi took while in London.

Telling engaging stories around art – be it through collections, exhibitions or locally based projects – is always a captivating way to bring us closer to understanding historic, modern and contemporary times, but it can also help us to rethink some of these narratives. Playwright Winsome Pinnock tells how her insightful reading of J.M.W.Turner’s painting Slave Ship, reflecting a more nuanced view of the work’s context, informed the way she wrote her play Rockets and Blue Lights.

As you will experience in the galleries across our four sites, there is a multitude of diverse ideas and enlightening personal histories to discover: from those in Tate Liverpool’s Ideas Depot, a wonderful display of artworks selected by local primary school children, to Haegue Yang’s immersive sculptural installations, the most recent of which draw on the strong artistic legacies of St Ives-based artists Barbara Hepworth and Naum Gabo. Enjoy your visit.

Simon Grant


  • Reading the Skies

    Helen Macdonald

    Both the complexity of the natural world, and our effect on it, are difficult to grasp. To truly address the climate crisis, one writer argues, we must learn that nature is not separate from us

  • Kim Lim

    Elena Crippa

    Curator Elena Crippa introduces the bold prints and raw sculptures of the Singaporean-British artist

  • Bruce Nauman: Restless Invention

    Peter Plagens

    Since the late 1960s, the American artist has continually tested what an artwork can be, experimenting with sound, film, video, neon, holograms and 3D technology. Here, a long-time friend offers a personal account of his varied and often unclassifiable art, which has influenced generations of artists

  • A Shot in Time

    Remembering the bombing of the Tate Gallery during the London Blitz, 1940–1

  • Hidden Treasures

    Rudi Minto de Wijs

    On a visit to Tate Archive, Rudi Minto de Wijs discovers an eye-opening portrait by the Guyanese artist Aubrey Williams

  • Winsome Pinnock on J.M.W. Turner's Painting 'Slave Ship'

    Winsome Pinnock

    The playwright describes the beauty and horror of Slave Ship, which inspired her new play Rockets and Blue Lights

  • In the Studio: Chila Kumari Singh Burman

    Chila Kumari Singh Burman

    The artist welcomes Tate Etc. to her blinged-up studio in Hackney, East London

  • Lynette Yiadom-Boakye: Speaking through Painting

    Antwaun Sargent and Lynette Yiadom-Boakye

    Celebrated for her enigmatic paintings of human subjects, the artist speaks to Antwaun Sargent about her art, music, writing and ‘sensuality over sexiness’

  • Turner's Modern World

    Jenny Uglow

    J.M.W. Turner is revered as a landscape painter but his art is also suffused with the wonders of modern technology, scientific innovation and 'the fire and force of industry'

  • Aliza Nisenbaum

    The artist known for her colourful portraits is harnessing the power of digital communication to paint key workers in Liverpool

  • Q&A: Anish Kapoor

    Anish Kapoor

    Tate Etc. spoke to the renowned artist about the different sides of his practice and the urgent questions raised by recent global events

  • Art for Every Body?

    Alex Pilcher

    Many museums and galleries now put queer culture on display, but, argues Alex Pilcher, true recognition may continue to elude gender-diverse artists

  • ‘Zanele Muholi’s work changed my life’, says La Kingsbeer

    For La Kingsbeer, a chair of Tate's LGBTQ+ network, an exhibition by the South African artist had a profound impact

  • Life’s Complex

    Kirsty Bell

    The South Korean artist Haegue Yang uses diverse materials and ways of making to create intricate and immersive environments in which uncanny and seemingly disparate ideas, cultures and time periods coexist

  • Behind the Scenes

    Susan Breen

    Paintings conservator Susan Breen tells her remarkable story of discovering two hidden portraits by J.M.W.Turner