Visual Arts Alumna Dineo Seshee Bopape ’10 Shines in Pioneering Solo Debut at MoMA

Carlos Barragán
July 14, 2023

Visual Arts alumna Dineo Seshee Bopape ’10 has launched Projects: Dineo SesheeBopape, her first solo museum exhibition at The Museum of Modern Art (MoMA). The exhibit, which runs from July 1 to October 9, 2023, marks Bopape's first individual exhibition in New York City. 

The exhibition centers around Bopape’s multichannel sound and video installation Lerato laka le a phela le a phela le a phela/My love is alive, is alive, is alive (2022). This work artfully integrates elements of earth, rock, and water, providing an immersive and tactile experience for the viewers. Displayed within the Museum's accessible street-level gallery, Projects: Dineo Seshee Bopape is artfully curated by Martha Joseph, the Phyllis Ann and Walter Borten Assistant Curator of Media and Performance. 

Bopape’s artistic practice is characterized by her innovative amalgamation of video, sound, and organic materials, often situated specifically for the installation site. This multimedia installation takes the spirits of the ocean as its initial point and provides a meditation on the social, political, and spiritual histories of the African diaspora and their deep connection to the land and water. Initially commissioned by TBA21–Academy and co-produced with Pirelli Hangar Bicocca, Milan, this exhibition at MoMA is set to include additional clay and soil artworks, expanding the initial site-responsive exhibition.

For this first museum exhibition in the US, Bopape has collaborated with the descendants of enslaved people who lived and worked on the Menokin Plantation in Virginia. During workshops with the artist, this collective of descendants created small sculptures out of clay sourced from the property. This collaboration began during a recent show in Richmond Virginia, and Bopape has included these new objects in the exhibition at MoMA.

For Bopape, according to MoMA’s press release, this connection to the physical world is an exploration of collective memory: “It’s a spiritual and a political rebellion to remember, to not forget what one is being asked to forget.” 

Dineo Seshee Bopape was born in the year of the golden rooster, 1981, on a Sunday. If she were Ghanaian, her name would be akosua/akos for short. Bopape lives in Southern Africa. She has shown her work internationally in numerous solo exhibitions, most recently in 2022 at Pirelli HangarBicocca, Milan; Ocean Space, Venice; and Secession, Vienna, and in 2021 at Institute for Contemporary Art at Virginia Commonwealth University, Richmond. She co-represented South Africa at the Venice Biennial in 2019.