Sibande doesn't look at the negatives of being a domestic worker, but rather the humanity and commonalities of people
by Editor Posted: 2009/07/08
Opening on Thursday July 9 at 6pm, this show is a collection of fantasies and imagined narratives centering around a central character -- Sophie, a maid.
Sibande doesn't look at the negatives of being a domestic worker, but rather the humanity and commonalities of people, despite the boxes we find ourselves in. The modern fabric is moulded into many forms that are combined with Victorian references, making the pieces completely foreign and at the same time, Sophie's own. By subverting the simple maids' uniform, in the creation of Sophie's hybrid dress, she becomes the canvas for Sibande's storytelling.
When Sophie puts on her maid's uniform, the simple pattern becomes this imaginative Victorian dress that turns into a superhero's outfit that allows her the freedom to express her imagination. Through her aspirations, Sophie has gained the desire to imagine and travel to unreal spaces and times.
Sophie is always in a state of transformation, by going beyond the ordinary and the expectations of being a maid. Sibande's work revolves around the visible costume that was, in former colonial times, associated with class and sophistication. The latter is stripped down using a maid's uniform that automatically tells the viewer about ethnic and cultural heritage, and personal history as it relates to race, gender and identity.
Mary Sibande, born in 1982, lives and works in Jo'burg. She holds a B-Tech degree in Fine Arts at the University of Johannesburg. In Sibande's practice as an artist, she employs the human form as a vehicle through painting and sculpture, to explore the construction of identity in a post-colonial South African context. She also attempts to critique stereotypical depictions of women, particularly black women in our society.
Exhibition concludes on August 3. Gallery Momo is located on 52, 7th Avenue, Parktown North, Jo'burg. Tel : 011-327-3247. www.gallerymomo.com