‘Street’ art on show

2018-02-06 06:01
One of Dion Cupido’s paintings, titled “Beauty and the Streets”.

One of Dion Cupido’s paintings, titled “Beauty and the Streets”.

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An award-wining artist will soon put his art on display at a local art showcase.

Mitchell’s Plain-born artist, Dion Cupido, is largely self-taught and has come a long way from being a teenager doing graffiti on walls in the Cape Flats to the respected artist he is today.

He discovered his ability to paint in 1990 while helping a friend with a school project, and his first paintings were exhibited in 1998.

In 2003 he joined the Arts and Media Access Centre’s (AMAC) professional development programme, where he won the Truworths AMAC Academy of the Visual Arts Award.

By 2013, ArtSouthAfrica, South Africa’s most influential and widely read arts magazine, nominated him as a Bright Young Thing.

Today it is clear that his studio-produced paintings are still deeply influenced by street art – so much so that it can be seen as another form of tagging.

When he started painting he was fascinated with abstract work and it took him more than a year to find his technique. An important realisation for him at the time was that his work also triggers certain thoughts and memories.

“I realised that our biased memories do more than simply present us with images of our personal history – they also shape our sense of who and what we are. In doing so, they guide us in forming an opinion about ourselves that may not be very accurate. As a result, this does little more than help us experience life only as we think we know it,” says Cupido.

Today his work is primarily a combination of abstraction and portraiture using street art techniques to explore memory and identity.

Writer and art historian, Ashraf Jamal, recently observed that Cupido “represents the very newly minted post-transitional moment in SA art – a moment in which our dark history and its democratic afterglow are both beside the point.”

You can see the works of Cupido and other artists at the Investec Cape Town Art Fair taking place at the CTICC from Friday 16 to Sunday 18 February.

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