Mary Sibande, Long Live The Dead Queen: Joburg City, World Premier Annual Exhibition 3 | Johannesburg, South Africa
Mary Sibande's Long Live the Dead Queen series was featured within the city of Johannesburg on the side of buildings and other structures as large, photographic murals. The pieces are actually sculptures which sibande creates and then has photographed. The images portray a series of fantasies and imagined narratives focusing on a fictional character named Sophie, a domestic housemaid. Referencing the limitations of female stereotypes in post-Apartheid South Africa, Sophie wears a maid’s uniform and maintains a solemn demeanor with eyes closed. Yet, throughout the series Sophie morphs out of her routine existence and becomes a myriad of personalities and sculptural forms that allow her to express her desires and inner longings. Whether flanked by Victorian garments or her signature apron, Sophie is always presented in a state of transformation. Using the human body as a platform to question social norms and their basis in history, Sophie problematises the historical representation for black women in the context of South Africa and opens up a space of imagination that transcends racial bias and marginalisation. Displayed during the 2010 World Cup in Johannesburg Sibande's murals presented a stark contrast to the World Cup's marketing focused billboards.