Born in 1973 in Mitchells Plain, South Africa, 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 that he is today.
He discovered his ability to paint in 1990 while helping a friend with a school project. His first paintings were exhibited in 1998. In 2003 he joined the Arts & Media Access Centre’s (AMAC) professional development program, 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 still are deeply influenced by street art – so much so that it can be seen as another form of tagging.
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. It also shapes our sense of who and what we are. In doing so, it guides us to forming an opinion about ourselves that may not be very accurate. As a result it does little more than helping 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.”
Cupido lives and works in Cape Town, South Africa.
- 2017 Plain reality, Worldart, Cape Town
- 2015 Carnival of memories, Worldart, Cape Town
- 2014 Not a pretty picture, Worldart, Cape Town
- 2013 Mooi kinnes & jas laaities, Worldart, Cape Town
- 2012 Perceptions of beauty, Worldart, Cape Town
SPECIAL HONOURS AND AWARDS
- 2015 SANLAM Portrait Award, Shortlist
- 2013 Bright Young Things, ArtAfrica Magazine