Simone Leigh – Sculptor, Filmmaker


I think I gasped when I first saw a cowrie shell sculpture by Simone Leigh. Literally, gasped. Her sculptures are a magnificent culmination of African Diasporian culture. Like the sculptures found throughout West Africa, Leigh’s works communicate messages from the past, present, and future. It’s the subtleties of her work that convey the most information – the cast iron blackness, the softly tinted colored roses, the speckles on the cowrie shell. It’s the anthropologic elements that I like most about Leigh’s work. The underlying messages of race and culture that reads like a Zora Neale Huston book. Most importantly, I dig those cowries ALOT!

Last summer, she created an installation called the Free People’s Medical Clinic for Creative Time’s community-based, art exhibition, Funk, God, Jazz, and Medicine: Black Radical Brooklyn. The installation, while giving homage to black female medical workers, was an interactive exploration of public health care. In addition to unique performances, the clinic provided humane healthcare experiences such as yoga and acupuncture sessions, health screenings, and black folk dance classes. All classes, workshops, and services were offered by Brooklyn-based practitioners.

Leigh is on that art {goddess} flow. Peep more of her work at


Mary Sibande | in her own words

Watch the quick vid below for more insight about Sibande’s creative process and the story behind her alter ego, Sophie.

Mary Sibande – Sculptor, Photographer, Painter

(l to r) – 1. I’m a Lady, digital print on cotton rag, 2009; 2. Admiration of the purple figure, digital pigment print, 2013; 3. The Reign, mix media installation, 2010; 4. They don’t make em like they used too, digital print on rag matte paper, 2008; 5. Her Majesty Queen Sophie, digital print, 2010; 6. I Have Not, I Have, digital print, 2010 (images by Gallery MOMO)

Mary Sibande and her alter ego, Sophie, are taking the art world by storm. Be it a digital print or a full installation of one of Sophie’s larger-than-life adventures –  one thing’s for certain – the imagery is always surreal, bold, and vibrant. With Sophie, Sibande gives homage to the domestic workers in her family while tackling the power struggles that exist within post-apartheid South Africa.

I would love to stand in the middle of Sibande’s installation and let Sophie’s dream world whisk me away…I’m sure that experience would be life changing!