2 February 2023 – 11 March 2023
Desi Casual Glamour is an ode to South African Indian culture, songs, and affection through an anthem of flamboyance, camp, and boyish effeminacy. Githan Coopoo intends to hold a conversation between South African Indian prophecy and grappling with his identity as a “double diaspora desi”, belonging and not belonging all at once”. Coopoo references overt stereotypes in the South Asian Faith to comment on specific societal discourses withheld and enforced on him growing up as a South Asian in a South African context.
Each of the clay handbags boasts a brightly painted phrase that evokes a range of emotions in relation to Coopoo’s self-identity. Coopoo’s use of exuberant colours acts as a protective blanket between light-hearted commentary and a deeper identity and ethnicity conflict. At face value the phrases appear to be light-hearted and tongue-in-cheek, however, Coopoo urges his audience to ruminate on whether these phrases are celebratory or cultural insults rooted in ignorance. The ceramics are totems of the queer South Asian diaspora and its experience.
Coopoo’s use of ceramics as a medium is driven by his love for mythology ancient craftsmanship and the relics of yesteryear handed down from one civilization to the next. The romance of objects lost and then found again lies in the transformation of it’s meaning over time. In this light, Coopoo wants to express a transmission of queer ideas through a medium that will stand the test of time. Coopoo adopts the challenging method of using air-drying clay, deliberately departing from the traditional use of a kiln in ceramic production.
Githan Coopoo is a self-taught sculptor and jewellery designer from Cape Town who works exclusively with clay as a base medium. Originaly focused on volume, opulence and fragility, Coopoo’s clay jewellery has been shown at Fashion Weeks internationally, including New York, Paris, Nigeria and Russia. Expanding upon his practice, the recent years have seen the production of large-scale works, best described as false ceramics. These works have predominantly taken the form of tiles, vases and handbags which use text to communicate simple but pointed messages of a queer tonality that span from sarcastic to intimate in timbre.
As part of the inaugural exhibition for the Norval Foundation x Boschendal Manor House in Franschhoek, Coopoo presented his first solo presentation, Structural Integrity, in 2021. Coopoo’s presentation The Luxury of Wearing Fakes, with Everard Read Cape Town, explored luxury consumption in both art and fashion, while again being bolstered by the base and colourful remarks teetering between the existential and tongue-in-cheek. Coopoo also presented work with the gallery at the Investec Cape Town Art Fair in 2022.