Mary Sibande

Mary Sibande

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Born in 1982

Lives & works in Johannesburg, , South Africa

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GLAMOUR Woman of the Year – Winner for Art Category, Johannesburg, South Africa - 2017

Smithsonian African Artist Award, National Mall, Washington, D.C, USA - 2017

Alumni Dignitas Award, University of Johannesburg, Johannesburg, South Africa - 2014

Private Collections : Scheryn Art Collection, Cape Town, South Africa;

Public Collections : Iziko South Africa National Gallery, Cape Town, South Africa; Spencer Museum of Art, University of Kansas, Kansas USA; Standard Bank, Johannesburg, South Africa;

Collected by museums and foundations : National Museum of African American History & CultureToledo Museum of Art, Toledo, OH, USA; MAC/VAL Musée d’Art Contemporain du Val-de-Marne in Paris, France; Virginia Museum of Fine Art in Richmond, USA;


Presentation of the artist

Mary Sibande, born in Barberton, South Africa in 1982, lives and works in Johannesburg. She obtained her Diploma in Fine Arts at the Witwatersrand Technikon in 2004 and an Honours degree from the University of Johannesburg 2007. She represented South Africa at the 54th Venice Biennale in 2011 and her project Long Live the Dead Queen was found in murals all over the city of Johannesburg in 2010.

Sibande is the recipient of several awards namely, the 2017 Smithsonian National Museum of African Arts Award, University of Johannesburg Alumni Dignitas Award in 2014 and the 2013 Standard Bank Young Artist Award for Visual Arts. Her work The Purple Shall Govern toured South Africa, ending in Johannesburg at the Standard Bank Gallery in 2014.

She is the 2018-2019 Virginia C. Gildersleeve Professor at Barnard College at the Columbia University. She was also the recipient of several residencies and fellowships, including the Smithsonian Fellowship in Washington D.C, the Ampersand Foundation Fellowship in New York and the University of Michigan Fellowship.

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.

This counter history takes the form of an alter-ego in Sibande’s early work, a persona by the name of Sophie who is dressed in various uniforms that resemble the dresses worn by domestic workers. Altering these dress styles into Victorian motifs, Sibande completely reanimates Sophie’s history through how her body is adorned and the way she occupies these narratives that were stolen and denied from her. This is not just a political act, but one of transformation as Sophie takes on new incarnations of herself unbound from the labored history of servitude as it relates to the present in terms of domestic relationships.

Transitioning from blue to purple to red, Sibande introduces us not only to the many faces of herself and Sophie, but to the complex personhoods of African Women whom continue to create worlds and narratives outside of the cannon of western imperialism.

In her newest work we witness Sophie as the High Priestess becoming the space between two realms; between the past and future, between what has been and what could be – she is fleeting, a personification of mystery and spirit which is unknown to the rational world.  In this work Sibande offers insight into the past, present and future, interpreting biblical and philosophical texts on wisdom into personal visions and prophecy. The Priestess represents magic and possibility through ancient cultural practices associated with sorcery whose traditions continue into the present day. Most importantly she attempts to exploit supernatural forces by summoning the spiritual and medicinal role inherent to magic and its associated rituals, gestures and languages.

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Nationality : South Africa

Sculpture Installations Contemporary Art

In connection with

SMAC Gallery, Cape Town - South Africa


CV

1982

Born in Barbeton, South Africa

Education

2007

Honours degree in Fine Arts, University of Johannesburg (UJ), Johannesburg, South Africa

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2004

Diploma in Fine Arts, Witwatersrand Technical College, Johannesburg, South Africa

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Solo exhibitions & presentations

2019

Leroy Neiman Gallery, New York City, USA

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2019

I came apart at the seams, 1:54 Contemporary African Art Fair (SMAC Gallery), Somerset House, London, UK

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2018

The Armory Show (Gallery MOMO), Piers 92 & 94, New York City, USA

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2018

A Crescendo of Ecstasy, presented by The Mixed Reality Workshop (TMRW) in collaboration with Eden Labs, Keyes Art Mile; FNB Joburg Art Fair (The Mixed Reality Workshop), Sandton Convention Centre, Johannesburg, South Africa

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2016

The Armory Show (Gallery MOMO), 92 & 94 Piers, New York City, USA

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2016

Right Now!, as part of Stellenbosch University’s Woordfees Festival, Stellenbosch University’s Art Museum, Stellenbosch, South Africa

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2014

The Purple Shall Govern, Musée Léon Dierx, Saint Denis, Reunion Island, France

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Residencies

2019

Artist in residence, Textiel Museum, Tilburg, Netherlands

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2019

Virginia C. Gildersleeve Professor at Barnard College, Columbia University, New York City, USA

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2014

Artist in residence, Civitella Ranieri Foundation Fellowship, Civitella Ranieri Centre, Umbertide, Italy

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CV

Group exhibitions & fairs

2019

Made Visible, Contemporary South African Fashion and Identity, Boston Museum of Fine Art, Boston, USA

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2019

Construction of the Possible, Havana Biennale, Havana, Cuba

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2019

FNB Art Joburg (SMAC Gallery), Sandton Convention Centre, Johannesburg, South Africa

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2019

Ampersand Foundation Award 21 years celebration exhibition, University of Johannesburg Art Gallery (JAG), Johannesburg, South Africa

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2019

N’GOLÁ Festival of Arts, Creation, Environment and Utopias, São Tomé e Príncipe

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2019

Open Borders, 14ª Curitiba International Biennial of Contemporary Art, Curitiba, Brazil

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2019

My Africa. Our Art, Javett Art Centre, University of Pretoria, Pretoria, South Africa

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2019

1-54 Contemporary African Art Fair (SMAC Gallery), Somerset House, London, UK

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2018

The Red Hour, curated by Simon Njami, Dak’Art: African Contemporary Art Biennale, Dakar, Senegal

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2018

In Their Own Form, Museum of Contemporary Photography (MoCP), Chicago, USA

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2018

Shifting Boundaries: A Selection of Works showcasing South African Women Artists of the Past 100 Years, Welgemeend, Cape Town, South Africa.

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2017

South Africa: The Art of a Nation, The British Museum, London, UK

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Press & media

Presse

2014

Joyce Bidouzo-Coudray | The Guardian | Mary Sibande – poking at power relations in post-apartheid South Africa

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2016

Elly Parsons | Apollo | Mary Sibande’s alter ego tells the story of post-apartheid South Africa

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2017

Mary Corrigall | Sunday Times | Mary Sibande’s artistic currency continues to rise

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2018

Lindsey O’Connor - Hyperallergic | A New Contemporary Art Museum in South Africa Aims to Represent the Continent and Its Diaspora

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2018

Hillarie M. Sheets - The New York Times | At Armory Show, Global Art and a JR Installation Will Cover Two Piers

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2019

Mary Sibande – I Came Apart at the Seams - Artskop3437

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2019

Maya Jaggi - Financial Times | Mary Sibande: ‘If South Africans didn’t get angry, nothing would get done’ | 3 October 2019 – PDF

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