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TBA21–Academy presents a solo exhibition dedicated to the artist Dineo Seshee Bopape at Ocean Space. The exhibition is part of a two-year curatorial cycle entitled The Soul Expanding Ocean by Ocean Space’s 2021 and 2022 curator Chus Martínez.

Courtesy of Ocean Space.

Dineo Seshee Bopape’s work begins with a journey to the Solomon Islands, and from there she moves on to plantations on the Mississippi, to Jamaica, and then back home to South Africa. Travel becomes a language that allows timelines to converge and intersect in the space of waters, a revisit to ‘dogs that are not asleep’. Bopape’s approach merges magical inquiry, historical curiosity, traditional wisdom, a sense of/for illusions, imagination and hope in order to create an operation on the post-post-colonial agency in conversation with the Ocean (being).

The commission is a further step in her practice towards the marriage of the earth and the memory of the Ocean. The rocks Bopape uses in her practice are teaching us to understand that ancient, mythical times are not of the past, since the times of oppression and the colonial are still not of the past, destruction and exploitation of resources are still not of the past. The semiotics of the ‘ghost’ slave ship embedded in the Ocean are conceived as an opening through a complex juxtaposition of artistic materials and language, an opportunity to enchant (and de/re-thread) contemporaneous life, and aid towards its tender transformation. For Bopape, the unseen – as in the spirits and energies moving actions and connecting us with the environment around us – is central to her video and augmented reality works activating a multifarious presence.

Bopape was part of the second voyage to the Solomon Islands organised by TBA21–Academy with the exhibition curator and Leader of “The Current II” fellowship program, Chus Martínez. Bopape’s experience of the Ocean in the Solomon Islands opened immersive ways to form connections between this new sensorial experience, the ancestors, slavery routes, and a practice capable of touching the audience the same way the spirits of the Ocean touched her. The commission is also informed by a research residency at Alligator Head Foundation, a Jamaican-based marine conservation foundation initiated by TBA21–Academy; managing the East Portland Fish Sanctuary and focusing on the intersection of science, art and community.

The exhibition will be on view from the 9th of April until the 2nd of October 2022. For more information, please visit the Ocean Space.

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