An exhibition at the FRAC MÉCA as part of the Women’s Focus of the Africa2020 Season

(5) February – 21 August 2021 (dates to be confirmed)

Exhibition poster ©Frac Nouvelle-Aquitaine MÉCA

As part of the Women’s Focus of the Africa2020 Season, curators Nadine Hounkpatin and Céline Seror invite 14 African artists for Memoria : account of another History, an exhibition of 55 works, presented at the FRAC MÉCA in Bordeaux (France).

This flagship exhibition of the Africa2020 Season should have opened this Friday 5 February 2020. While waiting for it to be opened to the public, the Gervanne and Matthias Leridon Collection is honoured to unveil two of its artworks for this event: “Wish you were here” (Mary Sibande, 2010) and “They don’t make them like they used to” (Mary Sibande, 2019).

Mary Sibande, Wish you were here, 2010, mixed techniques, variable dimensions ©Collection Gervanne et Matthias Leridon

“Wish you were here” (Mary Sibande, 2010) welcomes the public and inaugurates its journey through the exhibition. Through this work, Mary Sibande tells us her personal story, which finally seems to go beyond borders to become a collective narrative. The artist explores stereotypical representations of women and the question of identity in the post-apartheid context of South African society. The artwork features the symbolic figure of ‘Sophie’, the name commonly given by the white bourgeoisie to black domestic servants in apartheid South Africa. The artist nourishes her discourse and her art by drawing on the lives of the women in her family, their dreams, their demands and their fears.

“Sophie represents all women […], she is a member of my family, but at the same time she is connected to all women in South Africa,” says Mary Sibande.

Mary Sibande has always had a special interest in design and textiles, and was considering becoming a fashion designer before choosing the world of fine arts. Wish you were here embodies this world cherished by the artist, “Sophie” is dressed in an imposing blue Victorian dress topped with a white apron. With her eyes closed, this character seems to be carried away in her dreams, thinking of other possibilities.

Mary Sibande, They don’t make them like they used to, 2019, Digital Print, Edition n°5/10, 113,5 x 78 x 4 cm ©Matthieu Lombard

Mary Sibande offers us both an introspective work and a societal critique of the status of women in South Africa. “They don’t make them like they used to” questions us as she looks at both the past and the future, as if to give us advice and benevolence to better reverse the course of history.

Mary Sibande’s works are strong in their power of narration. Don’t wait any longer to discover the exhibition Memoria : account of another History at the FRAC MECA in Bordeaux!

Memoria : account of another History intends to challenge stereotypes, narratives and preconceived ideas. The works on display will each tell you a story and raise questions. While shifting the boundaries of art to highlight a rich individual and collective diversity, this exhibition renews the viewer’s perspective on contemporary creation from Africa and its diasporas.

Read more about the exhibition

Co-constructed by African professionals in partnership with French institutions and implemented by the French Institute, the Africa2020 Season is a pan-African and multidisciplinary project, focusing on innovation in the arts, science, technology, entrepreneurship and the economy. This season is none other than the sounding board of these agents of change who are shaking up codes, experimenting with new relationships to the world and impacting contemporary societies. It will take place from 1 December 2020 to mid-July 2021 throughout France (France and overseas territories).

Read more about the Africa2020 Season