Mary Sibande

Mary Sibande was born in Barberton (Mpumalanga province) in 1982.

She lives and works in Johannesburg. The first member of her family to have attended school (her mother and grandmother both worked as maids), Sibande explores identity construction in South Africa’s post-apartheid society and stereotypical representations of women. Her sculptures evoke the character Sophie, her “alter ego” dressed in hybrid clothing – a large blue Victorian dress and a maid’s apron – her eyes closed, dreaming of other possibilities: conductor of an orchestra, or a woman on horseback... Mary Sibande also creates digital images in which she acts out various scenarios involving Sophie. Large size billboards of her sculptures and images were exhibited across public spaces within the inner-city of Johannesburg during the Soccer World Cup in 2010. Her work was shown at the 2011 Venice Biennale.

Her solo exhibition “The purple shall govern” is currently showing at the National Arts Festival in Grahamstown. It will be touring other art centers in South Africa as part of her Standard Bank Young Artist Award exhibition tour. Her reflections upon identity and social progress make her a perfect fit for the projects that the MAC/VAL is working on with the local community.

Initiative organized within the framework of the Seasons South Africa / France.