Through her usual playful approach to immersive paintings, experimental moving images and scattered installations, Bopape takes us through a journey to explore four chosen sites with a history of transcontinental slave trades: Richmond, New Orleans, Senegal and Ghana by uncovering the history of slavery, trauma and memory combining the artist’s fascination with soil and architecture. The exhibition excavates the built structures and natural environments in the four sites to unearth the heritage of resistance, rebellion, spirituality and suffering kept within each location.
Infamous for her intensive research on the exploration of place, history and spiritualism, Bopape often centres her art around the metaphysical and materialistic attributes of earthly elements such as soil, clay and dust. She continues to showcase this practice in Ile aye, moya, là, ndokh… harmonic conversions… mm, sampling the soil and clay from the four chosen sites and using them as the main components in each of her most recent works. By harnessing the raw material and video footage from each of these locations, Bopape takes us with her in investigating their interconnected histories and bodies – of land and water – as places harbouring trauma and to commemorate the tragedy and resistance that existed and still exist in these sites.
When asked about her process in making this thought-provoking artwork, Bopape said: “the process began with drawing with soil from a space very special to me, and then getting to know other soils, then merged with the water drawings,” she continues, “the feeling of animating the lines then moved the process to move images and that begat the sound and because of the way space is shaped inside of the gallery that begat the various conversations that could take place within the space.”
The special space she mentions connects with her African Bantu lineage and legacy as a spiritual child who grew up within nature in South Africa. But also because the nurturing materials used, like the soil, help soothe the heavy emotions and the sound made of the vibrations of water aid in carrying you to an immersive and deep experience. This exhibition will transform you physically and spiritually into a place of horrors and beauty, mining a whirl of emotions with you and those around you.