Dineo Seshee Bopape — Lerole: footnotes (The struggle of memory against forgetting)

In her work, Southern African artist Dineo Seshee Bopape structures narratives through material and immaterial presences. For the eighth and final iteration of Para | Fictions, Bopape takes cues from author James Baldwin, who is known for his lyrical prose and writings on the complexity of social and psychological pressures of race, sexuality, and acceptance. Bopape presents an installation that meditates on pre-colonial recorded revolts and acts of resistance against European invasions in Africa.

It is commonly believed that the African continent was colonized without much fight or resistance from the people within its various locales, societies, and kingdoms. This is not the case; people fought, refused, rebelled and said ‘no’ – for hours, for days, for decades, and centuries. This work is a meditation on time, memory, spirit, and saying no.

The work is an ephemeral monument, a gesture made in commemoration of those acts and beings. It is comprised of bricks, gold leaf, and a sound composition comprised of collected recordings of a resplendent quetzal bird, mythologically known as the bird that commits suicide when held in captivity. The calls of the quetzal are mixed with sounds of the bodies of water that surround the African continent, as well as those that snake through its mass.

Bopape also draws from a story about Robert Sobukwe (1924-1978), a prominent South African political dissident, who founded the Pan Africanist Congress in opposition to apartheid. Upon the arrival of new prisoners at Robben Island, Subokwe – who was held in solitary confinement – had grabbed a hand full of soil, raised his fist, and saluted the new (political) prisoners. The final element within this work are the clay pieces, molded through a process of grabbing clay in one’s hand, forming it inside one’s fist - releasing it, letting it dry, and firing it till it’s hardened; these are tangible remnants of the exertion of energy, of agency, and the potential to ‘DO’.

[figure interview_dineo]

[figure artist_talk_with_dineo_seshee_bopape_and_defne_ayas]

Para | Fictions

Lerole: footnotes (The struggle of memory against forgetting) is presented as part of Para | Fictions, a cycle of sustained investigations taking as its focus the relationship between literature and visual art through the practice of ten artists: Daniel Dewar & Grégory Gicquel, Calla Henkel & Max Pitegoff, Mark Geffriaud, Laure Prouvost, Oscar Santillan, Dineo Seshee Bopape, Lucy Skaer and Rayyane Tabet. Each project on display presents a different artistic methodology, constituting a combination of each artist's visual interests and literary underpinnings, to seek the viability of repositioning ‘reference’ as ‘form’, ‘translation’ as ‘co-authorship’.



Supported By


Related Items