Short email interview conducted with Dineo Bopape for the exhibition project The Beautyful Ones, 2013
What do you understand, and think off when you hear ‘The Beautyful Ones’?
firstly i think of armah’s book : the beautyful ones are not yet born…. i think of the title…. the moment it was written, i think of other writers… i think of a future moment, something postponed.
Are there any particular African writers/theorists/intellectuals that have made an impact on you? Who, and in what way did they influence your practice as an artist?
bessie head’s ‘a question of power’ – that book blew my mind away – i have never read a book like that! it affected me wholly, i thought i was loosing my mind as i read every page, i was as affected as her characters in the book! another writer/intellectual who was affected me/my work: andile mngxitama – he writes a journal called ‘new frank talk’, which is after the journal by steve biko “frank talk”. his writting style and content are both pungent and acidic with moments of carthatic abstractness…
Are you comfortable being called an ‘African’ artist? Is it a valid term? Any thoughts?
well it depends by whom and in what context… like the words/adjectives sweetheart or bitch… it would depend on the context…
Where is home?
wherever i am safe and warm and i can say what i feel and can be ‘myself’.
In short, how would you describe your practice?
i would say that it is at the moment research based… most of what i have been working on feels like trials, tests and questions for myself, and also a game of sorts.
Have you ever felt like a stranger? Could you elaborate?
yes, on numerous occasions…
one that sticks out is the time after a particularly strange event: i did not know how to make sense of it…and i felt estranged from my self and the stability of everything around me… i was exiled from life temporarily.
oh and also after a car accident experience…strangeness took over everything.
also having lived in different cities, countries witnessing/experiencing strange rituals/cultures/’norms’- whilst existing outside of them…
being new in a place…