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LONDON–South African artist Mary Sibande’s avatar Sophie — a human-scale sculpture modeled on herself — was born during her final year at the University of Johannesburg fine arts degree. Sibande, whose older female relatives had been domestic workers, was assigned by one of her professors to tell a story through her artwork. “I remember talking to my supervisor and saying, ‘I want to play detective and investigate why these women in my family were all domestic workers.’ I wanted to pay homage to them,” said Sibande.

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