Mary Sibande premiered The Domba Dance (2019) in Kavi Gupta's booth at Art Basel Miami Beach 2019, as part of ABMB's Kabinett sector. Mary’s work explores issues related to post-Apartheid South Africa. This fiberglass and textile sculpture features Mary’s evolving character Sophie seen in all red alongside a red, multi-headed dog, flanked by a ribbon of interlocked multi-colored arms. Here is a short statement from Mary about the piece:
“This installation reflects on the legacy or the after taste of Apartheid in South Africa. The work is a pseudo psychological investigation, exploring a suppressed and yet ubiquitous emotion, that of anger. At the core of the work is the preservation of the heart. In isiZulu, and more broadly iNguni-speaking people, the heart is associated with a wide spectrum of emotions such as anger, impatience and tolerance. The color red has many metaphorical associations, from spiritual, to links with blood. According to a common Zulu expression, an angry person is defined as a “red dog”. The emotive quality of anger relegates the individual as belonging outside humanity and in the realm of animal. There is also a nihilistic approach to anger, in which the emotion of anger, as located in the heart, manifests destruction which includes the figure harboring it. These thematic concerns speak to the condition of the post-Apartheid dissatisfaction in contemporary South African society. The working title invokes a Tshivenda practice called the ‘Domba Dance’ (also called the ‘Python Dance’). Performed by young women, the dance symbolizes fertility and sexuality during their initiation ceremony as they transition into adulthood. In this case, the melodic movement conveys the passing on of the torch. ‘Sophie’ has now entered her red phase.”
Artist Biography Mary Sibande (b. 1982, South Africa) has exhibited the world over in internationally leading museums. In 2010 she took part in the L’Exposition du Festival Mondi- al des Arts Nègres in Dakar, and her work was featured in the review From Pierneef to Gugulective: 1910-2010. Other galleries and events where her work has been shown include: the Iziko South African National Gallery in Cape Town (2010); Museum of Contemporary Art, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil (2011); the Kiasma Museum for Contemporary Art in Helsinki, Museum Beelden aan Zee, Hague, Netherlands (2012); the Musée d’Art Contemporain du Val-de-Marne, Paris,- France (2013). Lyon Biennale 2013, Lyon, France; Musée Léon Driex, Saint Denis, la Réunion Island (2014); Dishman Art Museum, Lamar University, Beaumont, Texas, USA; The Whitworth Museum, Manchester, UK (2015); The British Museum, London ,UK (2016); Kalmar Konstmuseum, Sweden (2017); Cairns Art Gallery, Cairns, Australia(2019); The MET Breuer, Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, (2018); and Somerset House, London, as part of the 2019 1-54 Contemporary African Art Fair.
Sibande’s works are included in prominent collections internationally, including Toledo Museum of Art, Toledo, USA; National Museum of African Art, Smithsonian National Museum of African Art, Washington, DC; Virginia Muse- um of Fine Art; Museum of Contemporary Photography, Chicago, IIL USA; Musée d’Art Contemporain du Val-de-Marne, France and Iziko South African Museums, South Africa.