Artistic Juxtaposition: The Vulnerability and Strength of Black South African Women in Mary Sibande’s Sophie Series Public Deposited

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  • Benson, India
    • Affiliation: College of Arts and Sciences, Department of Biology
  • Mary Sibande is a female South African artist whose work delves into ideas of race, gender, and class from her perspective as a Black South African woman. Through her medium, a mannequin named Sophie made with silicone and fiberglass, she explores these realms by representing Sophie’s character in various dream states and attire. This paper examines the ambiguous nature of Sibande’s 2009 work, Caught in the Rapture, in which Sophie’s Victorian-style blue dress acts as the centerpiece, entailing both colonial and post-colonial histories. I propose that there are two conflicting interpretations that can be gathered from examining the installation: one that centers on the vulnerable nature of the piece, while the other highlights its aspects of strength. This creates an unlikely coexistence between two inherently opposing categorizations, which results in a dynamic and complex understanding of the work as a whole.
Date of publication
Resource type
  • Article
Rights statement
  • In Copyright
Journal title
  • Global Africana Review
Journal volume
  • 1
Journal issue
  • 1
Page start
  • 44
Page end
  • 54
  • English
Digital collection
  • Global Africana Review
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