Featuring newly commissioned work, Ile aye, moya, là, ndokh…harmonic conversions…mm, South African artist Dineo Seshee Bopape’s solo exhibition at the Institute for Contemporary Art at Virginia Commonwealth University, opened on Friday, September 24. The African words in the show’s title call to the elements: Earth, wind, fire, and water, summoned in Yoruba, Nguni/Sepedi, Ga, and Wolof, respectively.
Images, objects, and sounds made out of soil and water from Virginia, Louisiana, Senegal, Ghana, and South Africa resonate throughout the gallery, referencing the cities, ports, and waterways that played important roles in the enslavement of people. These transatlantic spaces are all sites of historic crimes, and Bopape uses them to consider the enslaved, captors, facilitators, collaborators, and enslavers, intending to call attention to the living memories carried by the earth and its waterways. For the plantations, harbors, and trading posts where human life was sold and consumed are still evident in our built environments today: In their visible construction, in the wealth created by forced labor, and in the festering social wounds that are so often masked.
Yet Bopape moves beyond the narrative of enslavement, exploring the many ways in which people escaped and found freedom through running, spirituality, community, and creativity. She means for her work to highlight the connectedness of disparate places, both historically and materially, and forge harmonic conversions with ancestral pasts, presents, and futures.
Through this exhibition, Bopape aims to pay homage to those who were taken, those who struggled, those who fled, and those who still seek sanctuary in the spaces between captivity and an illegal freedom.
The ICA is free and open to the public. To learn more, visit icavcu.org.
Dineo Seshee Bopape: Ile aye, moya, là, ndokh…harmonic conversions…mm is curated by Amber Esseiva, Curator at the Institute for Contemporary Art at Virginia Commonwealth University.
Devour the Land considers environmental and socioeconomic damages caused by the military-industrial complex, as well as how photography inspires activism.
Many of the works in Iðavöllur are big and chock-full of issues and socially engaged ideas, like so much art elsewhere.
Women digital artists introduced feminist concepts into two other areas of popular visual culture: video gaming and anime.
The first year of programming at Massachusetts College of Art and Design’s graduate programs satellite gallery continues with this show, on view through October 24.
In this film about stardom, the viewer has nowhere to appreciate and connect with the characters and concepts.