Mary Sibande, Wielding the Collision of Past, Present and Future, 2017, Digital print, 118 x 113 cm. Courtesy Gallery MOMO
Mary Sibande, Wielding the Collision of Past, Present and Future, 2017, Digital print, 118 x 113 cm. Courtesy Gallery MOMO  

Mary Sibande’s work not only engages as an interrogator of the current intersections of race, gender and labour in South Africa, but continues to actively rewrite her own family’s legacy of forced domestic work imposed by the then Apartheid State. 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; this is not just a political act, but one of transformation.

Solo shows include The Purple Shall Govern, Iziko South African National Gallery, Cape Town (2013); Works have been presented at The Evidence of Things Not Seen, Johannesburg Art Gallery, Johannesburg (2016); South Africa: The Art of a Nation, British Museum, London (2016) and Material Self: Performing the Other Within, Museum of Contemporary Canadian Art, Toronto (2014).