Mary Sibande - Wielding the Collision of the Past, Present and Future, 2017 (detail)

Mary Sibande

October 3, 2013

A South African artist, Mary Sibande uses mediums such as sculptures, paintings, photography, and design to help depict the human form and explore the construction of identity in a postcolonial South African context.

Born in Barberton, South Africa in 1982 in apartheid, Sibande is currently based in Johannesburg. Born to a mother who was a domestic worker and father who was in the South African Army, she was raised by her grandmother. Sibande received her diploma in Fine Arts from the Technikon Witwatersrand in 2004 and obtained a B-tech degree from the University of Johannesburg in 2007.

For Sibande, the body and particularly how we clothe it, is the site where this history is contested and where Sibande's own fantasies can play out. In her work, she often uses an alter-ego by the name of "Sophie", whose body and dress became a site for writing a counter-history. Throughout her practice, she has used her work to expose a range of issues, from postcolonial South Africa to stereotypes of women as well as stereotypes regarding black women in South Africa. As she once explained, her work is "about celebrating what we are as women in South Africa today."

Featured image: Mary Sibande - Wielding the Collision of the Past, Present and Future, 2017 (detail). Archival digital print. 43 1/2 × 43 3/4 in. 110.5 × 111.1 cm. Photo courtesy Kavi Gupta Gallery