Breaking the facade surrounding depression
Obakeng Molepe captures things you can’t see. The photographer’s technical skills are masterful to no end. But when the artist listens to his inner voice, he goes beyond aesthetics and exposes the crevices of his mind. “I’ve struggled with depression for over three years now,” Molepe says. In his series, Ferry, mental health is the main subject. “Depression is like any other chronic illness,” Molepe says. To erase the prejudice against it, he’s bringing its normality into focus.
The title of Molepe’s project alludes to the way his mind travels between worlds while battling with mental health issues. “My art has become the way I speak out,” Molepe says. But portraying these struggles isn’t easy. Through deep hues and distorted lines, Molepe creates a range of minimal, intense images open to interpretation. “I rely heavily on my instincts to guide the conversation I create,” he says. “I do not overthink the process.”
Depression can be difficult to discuss, but Molepe is never one to shy from weighty subjects. “We live in a society of spectacle, where everything is shaped by appearance,” he says. “I want people to question these images and ideologies.” Molepe also tackles topics like gender and religion, to challenge the status quo. Despite his impressive portfolio – he’s been featured in Elle magazine and commissioned by Adidas –Ferry is one of Molepe’s most profound projects to date. Mental health requires accurate representation. With the creative approach of artists like Molepe, we can broaden our understanding and ultimately, ensure healing.