Overview

Dineo Seshee Bopape’s recent constellation of sculptures reflects on a South African protest song that envisioned the country’s struggle against apartheid as part of a larger pursuit of liberation across the continent. Part of her investigation, +/- 1791 (monument to the haitian revolution 1791) (2016–17) draws parallels between the political liberation of a land, spiritual liberation through revolt, and the biological sustenance and sense of nurturing offered by the earth. Inspired by Haiti’s revolution against French colonial rule, the work explores how the revolt is said to have been precipitated by a voodoo ceremony that called for Haitians to revolt against their oppressors.

Bopape’s -/+1791 is comprised of various elements that draw on Afro-diasporic spiritual aesthetics. Herbs local to Sharjah with healing and protective properties are used along with minerals such as gold leaf, oils and earth collected from Marikana (South Africa), Egypt, Morocco, the Democratic Republic of the Congo and Palestine, amongst other places. Clay recalls the material potential to shape rocks, which could be either thrown or used to build. The repurposed plastic and glass bottles contain seawater, which has healing properties, and petrol, which is highly combustive. Along with the combustive property of the fuel is its potential second function as a medium of spirituality—it can release the spirit from bondage. Reflecting on both the healing and destructive power of materials in her work, Bopape explores how revolutions do not simply appear as political fights or socio-historical processes, but rather emerge from personal and spiritual practices that are pushed into more public realms.

This project was part of Sharjah Biennial 13.

+/- 1791 (monument to the haitian revolution 1791)

Dineo Seshee Bopape
2016/2017

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+/- 1791 (monument to the haitian revolution 1791) Image

Dineo Seshee Bopape
2016/2017

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Dineo Seshee Bopape
2016/2017

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