Viewing Record 1 of 1 artist: Sibande, Mary

A Terrible Beauty

  • Accession Number:
  • Artist:
    Sibande, Mary
  • Date:
  • Medium:
    Inkjet print
  • Dimensions:
    frame: 43 11/16 in x 44 1/2 in
  • Credit Line:
    Museum purchase


About the Photographer

Sibande, Mary

South African, b. 1982

Mary Sibande is a painter, sculptor, and photographer whose practice focuses on gender, race and identity and grapples with her experience as a Black woman growing up in apartheid South Africa. Sibande often includes representations of a domestic worker named Sophie in her sculptures and photographs. Modeled after an alter ego of herself, Sibande transforms Sophie’s traditional blue and white servant’s uniform into lush Victorian era gowns. The purple color in this photograph refers to the famous Purple Rain protest that took place in Cape Town in 1989, where the police sprayed protesters with purple dye to mark them for arrest after the march.

Mary Sibande completed a graduate degree in Fine Arts from the University of Johannesburg and has since exhibited in group and solo shows in major museums, galleries, and universities internationally. She was represented South Africa in the 54th Venice Biennial and exhibited in the Biennial of Contemporary Art in 2013. In 2017 she was chosen for the Smithsonian African Artist Award, followed by a professorship with Barnard College at Columbia University. Her work has been featured in solo exhibitions in Musée d’art Contemporain de Lyon in France, Kunst Palais in Germany and the Durban Art Gallery in South Africa, among others.

Updated 7/6/23