Johannesburg, South Africa (2010) – South African artist Mary Sibande has turned the city of Johannesburg into a metro-wide art museum. Her new exhibit, LONG LIVE THE DEAD QUEEN, features 19 giant canvases wrapped around buildings throughout the inner city. The canvases feature painted images of “Sophie,” a fictional domestic worker Sibande created for her sold-out exhibit by the same name that was installed at Gallery Momoin in 2009. Represented on the building-wraps, Sophie is larger than life. By her sheer size, she almost literally steps out of poverty and invisibility onto the side of each building. Sibande’s art work deals with broad psycho-social and empowerment issues involving black women and their historical roles on the domestic stage.
The city of Johannesburg hopes to make city-wide art installations an annual event, each year featuring a new internationally-known artist. The Sibande installation was funded by the National Lottery Distribution Trust Fund and remained up for three months.