Through her digital art, Mary Sibande explores the construction of identity in a postcolonial context.
Mary Sibande is a digital and mixed media artist, who lives and works in Johannesburg, South Africa. Sibande explores the construction of identity in a postcolonial context, focused in the South African society. Combined with this, she also challenges and critiques the stereotypical depictions of women and especially black women.
For Sibande the human form serves as the vehicle to explore these complicated social processes and relations, depicted through painting and sculpture. The body is the central element but what truly stands out in her pieces, both digital and physical, is the skin and the clothing. These two elements are the campground for history and fantasy, allowing the artist to explore an infinite number of conceptual links. At the centre of her production is the generational disempowerment of black women. Here the influence of the postcolonial theory is evident.
Sibande places the action that each figure represents in a domestic setting also exploring the relationship between slave and master in a post-apartheid context. By transforming the Victorian costume, a sign of social power, into a domestic worker's uniform, she reconfigures the complexity of this historical relationship that is still very current and an important part of South African society.
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