Sibande debuts her avatar, Sophie, in New York to visualize timely themes of women’s power boiling over. In regal purple, Sophie waves a cloth, whether of welcome, warning or surrender to her bursting anger. The Zulu expression Wavuka inja ebomvu (“she turned into a red dog”) lunges outward as a universal metaphor for what Sibande observes: “Anger is a dangerous animal.”
About the Artist
Mary Sibande (b. 1982 in Barberton, South Africa) lives and works in Johannesburg. Studying visual arts, at the Witwatersrand Technikon and University of Johannesburg, Sibande’s work not only engages as an interrogator of the current intersections of race, gender and labor in South Africa, but continues to actively rewrite her own families legacy of forced domestic work imposed by the then Apartheid State. Sibande employs the human form as a vehicle through photography and sculpture as a focused critique on the stereotypical depictions of women, particularly black women in South Africa. The body, for Sibande, and particularly how we clothe it, is the site where this history is contested and where Sibande’s own fantasies can play out.
Notable exhibitions to date include Long Live the Dead Queen at Gallery MOMO (Johannesburg: 2009); at MAC/VAL Musée d’Art Contemporain di Val-de-Marne (Paris, France: 2013); Mary Sibande and Sophie Ntombikayise Take Central Court at Spencer Museum of Art (University of Kansas, Lawrence, Kansas: 2013); and The Purple Shall Govern at the Grahamstown National Arts Festival (Grahamstown, South Africa: 2013); at Iziko South African National Gallery (Cape Town: 2014); at the Standard Bank Gallery (Johannesburg: 2014). Select group exhibitions include , Another Antipodes/urban axis 017 (Perth, Australia: 2017); South Africa: The Art of a Nation at the British Museum (London, UK: 2016); Re(as)sisting Narratives at Framer Framed (Amsterdam, Netherlands: 2016); at District Six Museum (Cape Town: 2016); the Lyon Biennale (Lyon, France: 2013); and the 54th Venice Biennale (Venice, Italy: 2011), amongst others.