To everything there is a season, 2019
Inkjet on Hahnemühle Photo Rag
Ed 1/10 + 3 AP
CM H 200 W 136
IN H 78.74 W 53.54Certificate of authenticity - Signed by artist
To everything there is a season, 2019
Representing black, South African women manifests itself throughout Sibande’s decade-long practice in the form of her alter ego, ‘Sophie’. Although never seen before in the UK, ‘Sophie’ has featured in a number of displays: at the 2011 Venice Biennale, in Paris Photo the same year, and in a host of African and European exhibitions, including an artistic residency in 2013 at the MAC/VAL Museum of Modern Art in France. ‘Sophie is inspired by my great grandmother,’ Sibande explains. ‘Her masters couldn’t be bothered to learn her African names, so they just called her “Elsie”.
During apartheid, it was compulsory for a black child to have a Christian name, hence my name, “Mary”. “Sophie” was born from this law, as a way for me to stop this story from going stale.’
In A Reversed Retrogress, as in many of Sibande’s works, Sophie undergoes a transformation, shaking free from the shackles of her traditional garb and stepping into the wild fashions of her imagination. We travel with Sophie, witnessing the struggles this journey entails. ‘That’s why these two figures are in a violent stance,’ Sibande explains. ‘Change is a violent process.’ Despite this, each gallery’s raison d’etre remains the South African story.
Sibande’s work often has an intensely personal narrative at its heart, but it’s also one that skillfully references South Africa’s wider history. Hers is a story of feminism, fashion and rebellion – a family tale that Sibande traces back to her great grandmother – but into which can be read a globally relevant, painful truth. But Sibande’s work also represents hope. ‘I’m trying to tell a sad story in a happy way,’ the artist concludes, turning her attention towards the installation. ‘You might see these two women as fighting, but they’re also dancing. It is a celebration.’
Text by Ellie Parsons extract from the article in the APOLLO: The International Art Magazine.
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 sit...Read more
SMAC gallery was established in 2007 in Stellenbosch, South Africa. Since it’s inception, SMAC has focused on presenting the work of emerging and mid-career South African artists, as well as established international artists.
The gallery expanded to its current flagship space in Woodstock, Cape Town, in 2014 and opened a third space in Johannesburg, South Africa in 2016. In addition to its contemporary programme, the gallery regularly presents large-scale historical exhibitions and projects that offer a critical re-evaluation of South African art history within a global dialogue.
The gallery’s art fair participation includes The Armory Show, artmonte-carlo, Artissima, Art Brussels and Miart.
SMAC GALLERY, CAPE TOWN
1st Floor, The Palms
145 Sir Lowry Road
T: +27 (0)21 461 1029
SMAC GALLERY, JOHANNESBURG
1st Floor, The Trumpet
19 Keyes Avenue
T: +27 (0)10 594 5400
SMAC GALLERY, STELLENBOSCH
1st Floor, De Wet Centre
T: +27 (0)21 887 3607