GALLERY: Artes Mundi 9: Dineo Seshee Bopape
Dineo Seshee Bopape’s expansive practice deals with socio-political notions of memory—from the personal to the collective, to the known and unknown —narration and representation as interrelated forms. She demonstrates an obsession for recollection and of how personal belongings or everyday objects might critically carry significance and embed history beyond their daily use. Her work often utilises a diverse range of commonplace, elemental materials such as soil, bricks and timber with found objects and archival images, video and sound, to develop dense and powerful installations. Materials such as earth, air or water are given tangible form.
Bopape has produced a series of new, immersive works whose installation materially and conceptually connects African and US locations such as Achimota Forest, Accra, Ghana, James River, Richmond, Virginia and the Mississippi River at New Orleans. Clay and soil from these places joins with that from the Île de Gorée off the Senegal coast at Dakar—infamous as a departure point from Africa for the Atlantic slave trade—to create Master Harmoniser, a collection of over 1,000 drawings. This work combines with (Nder brick) ___ in process (Harmonic Conversions) to act as an homage to the sacrifice that Nder women in North Senegal underwent to avoid being taken as slaves.
Soil, objects, drawing and sound are presented in spaces with walls covered in washes of soil from Welsh sacred sites. Presented at both the National Museum Cardiff and Chapter, Gorree (song): Thobela: harmonic conversions is a sound work that is part lament, part evocation, part acknowledgement of ancestors. Linking place, histories and reaching across time, as a whole these works draw together the celestial and the earthly, the bodily and the metaphysical, the personal and collective, into a space of acknowledgement and healing, to create a potent atmosphere that questions that which becomes forgotten and what should be remembered.