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Mary Sibande: Blue Purple Red

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In hyperrealistic sculptures and photographs, Johannesburg-based Mary Sibande deconstructs the roles of women in South Africa as both individuals and in terms of race, gender, and class inequity. Sibande’s central character, Sophie, has been cast from her own face and body. In early work, this avatar wears the blue and white of a maid’s uniform, symbolizing the only type of employment that many impoverished Black South African women could obtain. The palette then moves to purple, signifying the political awakening that came with the end of apartheid. Recent work is predominantly red, an indication of the anger felt by many South Africans at the ongoing conditions of poverty and inequity in their country.
Mary Sibande.