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If You Don't Know, Now You Know: Mary Sibande

See new work by Mary Sibande at FNB Art Joburg this weekend as part of the SMAC Gallery presentation at the annual art event.

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Mary Sibande | House and Leisure

 

Born in 1982 in Barberton, Mary Sibande has established herself as one of South Africa's top visual artists, and is known for her photography and sculptures that explore the construction of identity within a post-apartheid South African context.

Currently based in Johannesburg, Sibande is known for invovling herself in her art – becoming the model in both her photographs and sculptures as she portrays her self-created avatar, who is named Sophie. Through Sophie, Sibande is able to explore a range of roles and narratives from femininity to Blackness while donning elaborative handmade constumes. 

The artist will soon be showcasing her first United Kingdom solo exhibition, titled 'I Came Apart At The Seams', which is due to take place at Somerset House in London in October 2019. Of course, Sibande is no stranger to exhibiting internationally at this stage of her career, having presented her breakout series at the 54th Venice Biennale in 2011.

Sibande's exhibit in the UK will coincide with the 1-54 Contemporary African Art Fair, which will run from October 2019 until 7 January 2020. 

'I Came Apart At The Seams' will be the first time that the artist is showing works from three selected series that look back on her career to date and offer insight into her growth as an artist.

Each series is respresented by the symbolic use of the costume that Sophie wears, beginning with the traditional blue uniform of a domestic servant who is held back by discriminaton and inequality. 

Mary Sibande | House and Leisure

The second series showcases Sophie as a fantastical figure surrounded by a jungle of purple that envelops her as she stands in the centre of the room. The purple colour, and the positioning of Sophie, are meant to represent the struggle against apartheid and the promise of equality. 

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Mary Sibande | House and Leisure

In the artist's most recent work, Sophie is seen wearing red, representing anger and the unrest that is still felt across the country. 

Mary Sibande | House and Leisure

The artist casts a light on the atrocities of the past but also the current state of the country, making her a creative who is not afraid to speak up and have her voice heard.

Her work is currently available to view at FNB Art Joburg, as part of SMAC Gallery's presentation. This exhibit is on from 13 to 15 September 2019 at the Sandton Convention Center in Johannesburg. 

Sibande's works are also included in the Ampersand Foundation Award 21 Years Celebration Exhibition, curated by Gordon Froud, which is on show from 11 September to 9 October 2019 at the University of Johannesburg Art Gallery in Joburg.

SMAC Gallery is focused on presenting the work of emerging and mid-career South African artists along with established international artists. Currently, the main SMAC Gallery location in SA is in Woodstock, Cape Town, and there is also a space in Johannesburg. 

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