Dineo Seshee Bopape

Artsy Editorial
Sep 16, 2019 6:15PM

Dineo Seshee Bopape by Maksym Bilousov. Courtesy of PinchukArtCentre.

Installation view of Solo Exhibition: Main Prize winner of the Future Generation Art Prize 2017, PinchukArtCentre Kiev, Ukraine. Photo by Maksym Bilousov. Courtesy of PinchukArtCentre.


As South African installation artist Dineo Seshee Bopape’s career has taken off, her work has remained truly grounded. Her most distinctive work of the last four years has involved large-scale interventions consisting of dirt, clay, and earthen bricks. Bopape, who is represented by Sfeir-Semler Gallery, punctuates such works with videos, sculptures, and enigmatic materials and artifacts.

Her work calls attention to the materiality of territory—its function as a homeland, a nurturing force that sustains life, and as a living record of conflicts, struggles, and environmental degradations. Appropriately, she is now one of three artists representing her native land in the South African pavilion at the 58th Venice Biennale.

Since 2016, Bopape has had solo shows at the Palais de Tokyo, the Witte de With Center for Contemporary Art, and PinchukArtCentre, the last of which awarded her the Future Generation Art Prize in 2017. She also showed in the Marrakech Biennale and the Bienal de São Paulo in 2016, and the Berlin Biennale in 2018.

Dineo Seshee Bopape, And-In- The Lights of this., 2017. Photo by Modifier. Courtesy of the artist and Sfeir-Semler Gallery Beirut and Hamburg.


“Most interesting to me about Dineo’s practice is her consideration of historical, present, and future time as it is linked to land,” said Nkule Mabaso, the co-curator, with Nomusa Makhubu, of the South African pavilion. “Her poetic meditations are especially poignant when we consider how, in our ‘settler-colonialist’ societies, indigenous people and their connections to land are ‘legislated’ to the past and basically written out of the future.”

Artsy Editorial