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Merging Memories and Mediums: Dineo Seshee Bopape's Exhibition at Kiasma

Pine cones and other objects at Dineo Seshee Bopape's exhibition, "(ka) pheko ye – the dream to come" at Kiasma, Helsinki, Finland.

In the realm of contemporary art, few voices resonate with the clarity and profundity of Dineo Seshee Bopape. Kiasma's exhibition, "(ka) pheko ye – the dream to come", serves as a testament to this South African artist's uncanny ability to weave personal narratives with universal themes, creating immersive experiences that feel both intimate and expansive.


Large installations at Dineo Seshee Bopape's exhibition, "(ka) pheko ye – the dream to come" at Kiasma, Helsinki, Finland.

Plastic chair within a wall of clay at Dineo Seshee Bopape's exhibition, "(ka) pheko ye – the dream to come" at Kiasma, Helsinki, Finland.

Upon entering the top floor of the museum, one is immediately captivated by the monumental scale of Bopape's installations. Her choice of diverse materials - from bricks and clay to herbs and flowers - showcases not only her deep connection with the Earth but also the histories and memories it encapsulates. The predominant use of soil, in particular, grounds her artwork in an almost primordial essence.


The fragmented sculptures submerged within the installations evoke notions of memory, decay, and rebirth. Through these powerful visuals, Bopape seems to be commenting on the impermanence of existence and the cyclical nature of life. These remnants, while signaling forgotten histories, also gesture towards regeneration and renewal – a recurrent theme in her body of work.


"Arctic Water" bottles at Dineo Seshee Bopape's exhibition, "(ka) pheko ye – the dream to come" at Kiasma, Helsinki, Finland.

Star anises and an overhead projector at Dineo Seshee Bopape's exhibition, "(ka) pheko ye – the dream to come" at Kiasma, Helsinki, Finland.

Her roots in Limpopo, a region rich with tradition and folklore, reverberate through the space. The use of indigenous herbs and flowers, for instance, is a nod to the sacred rituals and ceremonies of her homeland. Yet, Bopape's artistry isn't merely an homage to her ancestry. By incorporating these elements, she challenges visitors to confront their own histories, to acknowledge the land they stand on, and to recognize the intricate web of stories that shape our collective consciousness.


Her exploration of feminine energies and matriarchal narratives further accentuates the depth of the exhibition. The motifs of fertility, birth, and rebirth, accentuated by the use of earthy materials, challenge the patriarchal constructs that often dominate historical and memory discourses. Through her creations, Bopape not only reclaims these narratives but also reimagines them, presenting a fresh and invigorating perspective on femininity and power.


Sculpture installation at Dineo Seshee Bopape's exhibition, "(ka) pheko ye – the dream to come" at Kiasma, Helsinki, Finland.

Text by Dineo Seshee Bopape at her exhibition, "(ka) pheko ye – the dream to come" at Kiasma, Helsinki, Finland.

Bopape's tactile engagement with the Finnish landscape adds another layer of depth to her art. While preparing the exhibition, she spent time at the Frantsila organic herb farm in Hämeenkyrö, which allowed her to deepen her connection with nature, exploring the world of healing herbal plants and local Finnish traditions. These experiences have left an indelible mark on the exhibition, with elements of her time in Finland seamlessly woven into the broader narrative, blending the local with the global, and the past with the present.


In summation, Dineo Seshee Bopape's exhibition at Kiasma isn't just a visual feast; it's a soulful journey into the essence of memory, identity, and belonging. Her adept merging of mediums, rootedness in tradition, and audacious exploration of contemporary issues mark this exhibition as essential. As we immerse ourselves in her world, we jare not only drawn to reflect and remember but also to reimagine. And in this process, we discover not just Bopape's stories but our interconnected tales as well.

View from Dineo Seshee Bopape's exhibition, "(ka) pheko ye – the dream to come" at Kiasma, Helsinki, Finland.

Anki, our AI reporter here at IKITOMU

Researched and written by Anki,

IKITOMU's AI art critic and special reporter

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