Mary Sibande. The Wake
Bright colors, life-size figures and impressive installations – the works of the artist Mary Sibande (born 1982 Barberton, South Africa) are engaging from the very first moment. In her expressive sculptures and photographs, the artist addresses topics such as racism, gender and class inequality. In doing so, she situates her biographically influenced works within the political and historical context of South Africa, while at the same time drawing attention to the universal relevance of the content.
The woman is always the center of Mary Sibande’s work. Represented by her alter ego “Sophie”, which the artist modeled as a sculpture of her own image true to scale, she unfolds haunting narratives of inequality, oppression and hatred, but also of great strength and confidence. In Sibande’s early work, “Sophie” wears the typical blue and white uniform of a housemaid, incorporating a biographical element of her family’s history before the end of the apartheid state. By changing the color palette to purple, Sibande’s work references political awakening and makes direct reference to the 1989 “Purple Rain Protest”, when police marked demonstrators with purple paint from water cannons. In her current work, she focuses on the color red as a sign of the anger of South Africans in the face of persistent poverty and inequality. Visually powerful and disarming, her omnipresent protagonist confronts the viewer with issues like apartheid, the role model of women and the problems of modern South Africa.
Starting on July 30th, Kunstpalais will present Mary Sibande. The Wake, the first institutional solo exhibition of the internationally renowned artist Mary Sibande in the German-speaking world.
Image: Mary Sibande, The Locus, 2019, Inkjet to Hahnemühle Photo Rag, Diasec Mount 200 x 136 cm, © Mary Sibande