Barberton, South Africa
|Education||Diploma in Fine Arts from Witwatersrand Technikon, University of Johannesburg|
|Awards||54th Venice Biennale artist|
Mary Sibande (born 1982) is an artist who lives and works in Johannesburg. Sibande’s painting and sculpture uses the human form to explore the construction of identity in a postcolonial South African context. It also attempts to critique stereotypical depictions of women, particularly black women.
Sibande who was born in Barbeton in apartheid South Africa, comes from a long line of domestic workers. She earned a National Diploma in Fine Arts at the Witwatersrand Technical College in 2004 and a Fine Art B-Tech degree from the University of Johannesburg in 2007.
Her work was exhibited in the South African Pavilion at the 2010 Venice Biennale, and her work "Long Live the Dead Queen" was found in murals all over the city of Johannesburg in 2010. In 2013 Sibande received the Standard Bank Young Artist Award. And in 2016, her work "The Purple Shall Govern" toured South Africa.
Sibande’s painting and sculpture uses the human form to explore the construction of identity in a postcolonial South African context, but also attempts to critique stereotypical depictions of women, particularly black women.
For many years her work has exclusively revolved around a servant character named Sophie. Sophie’s life is collected and presented though a series of human scale sculptures, molded on Sibande herself. Sophie’s working uniform is gradually transformed into the grand Victorian wear of the European elite. Placing Sophie in Victorian clothing comments on the restriction of women in these large, heavy and tightened-up dresses. Her dress is a protest against being a maid, and at the same time it is the façade that allows her fantasies to come to life. Throughout the series Sophie transforms from a lady heading to a ball, to a Victorian queen riding her horse, to a general leading an army towards victory, to a conductor waving his baton to the beat of a muted symphony.
Sibande's work is held in the following permanent collections:
- Alexandra Dodd, "Dressed to thrill: the Victorian postmodern and counter-archival imaginings in the work of Mary Sibande", Critical Arts, 24.3 (November 2010): p. 467.
- "South Africa", La Biennale.
- "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2014-10-31. Retrieved 2014-10-22.
- "Mary Sibande by Anna Stielau | Artthrob". artthrob.co.za. Retrieved 2016-03-20.
- "Mary Sibande". www.gallerymomo.com. Retrieved 2016-01-25.
- Bidouzo-Coudray, Joyce (7 January 2014). "Mary Sibande – poking at power relations in post-apartheid South Africa". The Guardian. Retrieved 28 April 2017.
- "Artwork of the Week: September 13". The Toledo Museum of Art. Retrieved 2016-01-25.
- "Sophie-Ntombikayise by Mary Sibande | Recent Acquisitions | Collection | Spencer Museum of Art". Spencer Museum of Art. Archived from the original on 2015-12-20. Retrieved 2016-01-25.