lerato laka le a phela le a phela le a phela / my love is alive, is alive, is alive, 2022

Installation view of The Soul Expanding Ocean #3: Dineo Seshee Bopape, 2022, at Ocean Space, Venice. Commissioned and produced by TBA21–Academy. Photo: © Matteo De Fina

Installation with three-channel HD video, 12-channel sound, five augmented reality drawings, wooden screens, marble dust, wooden trestles, masks, seawater, liquor, grains, branches, textile, soil
Videos 15 min 25 sec
Overall dimensions variable
Commission and produced by TBA21–Academy
Dineo Seshee Bopape’s work begins with a journey to the Solomon Islands, and from there she moves on to plantations on the Mississippi, to Jamaica, and then back home to South Africa. Travel becomes a language that allows timelines to converge and intersect in the space of waters, a revisit to ‘dogs that are not asleep’. Bopape’s approach merges magical inquiry, historical curiosity, traditional wisdom, a sense of/for illusions, imagination and hope in order to create an operation on the post-post-colonial agency in conversation with the Ocean (being).

The TBA21–Academy commission lerato laka le a phela le a phela le a phela / my love is alive, is alive, is alive is a further step in her practice towards the marriage of the earth and the memory of the Ocean. The rocks Bopape uses in her practice are teaching us to understand that ancient, mythical times are not of the past, since the times of oppression and the colonial are still not of the past, destruction and exploitation of resources are still not of the past. The semiotics of the ‘ghost’ slave ship embedded in the Ocean are conceived as an opening through a complex juxtaposition of artistic materials and language, an opportunity to enchant (and de/re-thread) contemporaneous life, and aid towards its tender transformation. For Bopape, the unseen – as in the spirits and energies moving actions and connecting us with the environment around us – is central to her video, and augmented reality works by activating a multifarious presence.

Bopape was part of the second voyage to the Solomon Islands organised by TBA21–Academy with the exhibition curator and Leader of "The Current II" fellowship program, Chus Martínez. Bopape’s experience of the Ocean in the Solomon Islands opened immersive ways to form connections between this new sensorial experience, the ancestors, slavery routes, and a practice capable of touching the audience the same way the spirits of the Ocean touched her. The commission is also informed by a research residency at Alligator Head Foundation, a Jamaican-based marine conservation foundation initiated by TBA21–Academy; managing the East Portland Fish Sanctuary and focusing on the intersection of science, art, and community.


Group exhibition: Avant L’Orage
Venue: Pinault Collection, Bourse de Commerce, Paris
February 8, 2023 - September 11, 2023
Curators: Emma Lavigne and Nicolas-Xavier Ferrand


Solo exhibition: The Soul Expanding Ocean #3: Dineo Seshee Bopape / Ocean! What if no change is your desperate mission?
Venue: Ocean Space, Venice
April 9, 2022 - October 2, 2022
Curators: Chus Martinez
This conversation held at Ocean Space in Venice (Chiesa di San Lorenzo) is an oral account of the oceanic journeys taken by artists Dineo Seshee Bopape and Diana Policarpo.