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Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Snapshots: Mary Sibande: De-Constructing Colonial Victorian Aesthetics

Written By: Jamelia Mmari—It's hard to believe that Johannesburg artist Mary Sibande has barely hit 30 years old, for her paintings and sculptures exploring the construction of identity in a postcolonial South African context and critiquing stereotypical depictions of women (particularly black women in our society) reflects an old soul.

Mary's work highlights how privileged ideals of beauty and femininity aspired to by black women discipline their body through rituals of imitation and reproduction. She inverts the social power indexed by Victorian costumes by reconfiguring it as a domestic worker’s “uniform” complexifying the colonial relationship between “slave” and “master” in a post-apartheid context. The fabric used to produce uniforms for domestic workers is an instantly recognizable sight in domestic spaces in South Africa and by applying it to Victorian dress she attempts to make a comment about history of servitude as it relates to the present in terms of domestic relationships.

To see more of Mary's work, visit where her work is currently being showcased.

(Photo Credits: © Mary Sibande)


futurebird said...

I wish the link you sent us to had more of her work... It looks fascinating!