Mary Sibande: The Future Is Female
Mary Sibande art work is powerful that is why we want to focus on her today. Through her art she tells the tale of her alter-ego Sophie, a domestic worker who finds refuge in dreams where she emancipates herself from the ghoulish realism of an ordinary existence, cleaning other people’s homes.
Mary Sibande is young she is born in 1982, she lives and works in Johannesburg. She obtained her Diploma in Fine Arts at the Witwatersrand Technikon (2004) and a B-Tech degree from the University of Johannesburg (2007). Sibande has participated in various group shows locally and internationally.
In her practice as an artist, she activates the human form through photography and sculpture. These mediums help her explore the construction of identity in a post-colonial South African context. In addition to this, Mary Sibande critiques stereotypical depictions of women, particularly African women in our society.
Mary Sibande’s practice as an artist, underlines how privileged ideals of beauty and femininity aspired to by black women discipline their body through rituals of imitation and reproduction. She inverts the social power indexed by Victorian costumes by reconfiguring it as a domestic worker’s “uniform” complexifying the colonial relationship between “slave” and “master” in a post-apartheid context. The fabric used to produce uniforms for domestic workers, in a South African context, is instantly recognizable within a domestic space by applying it to Victorian dresses she attempts to make a comment about history of servitude as it relates to the present in terms of domestic relationships.
Did you know her work? What do you think?
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