Jean Meeran lives in Cape Town, from a family of intricately interwoven ancestries, despite and because of apartheid. He grew up within the struggle, his parents imprisoned and exiled. He is creator of Kopanya’s design elements and artwork, and provides critical conceptualisation and writing for Kopanya’s unpacking of identities and oppression. Jean is also part of the art collective Team Tarbaby, and is founder of the imagined social movement Roots Anarchy. He studied politics at the University of Kwa-Zulu Natal, film at the University of Cape Town and film and art at New York University. His art seeks to disrupt prevailing paradigms around identity, particularly race and racism. He is consumed with the depiction of identity as a fluid entity, and with using this as a tool to subvert all forms of hierarchy, and expose the oppression embedded within.
“I have an abiding sense, a hauntedness, that we have been robbed, systematically and insidiously, not only of land and opportunity, but of our right to a full and vast identity. That some of us have been afforded this, and others not, is at the core of our oppression…. That some have been afforded all the riches of the earth, and others the scraps… And that this is on the basis of skin colour, hair texture and eye shape – four hundred and fifty years of name calling. It is nothing short of nonsensical. It is a psychic and material dead end, and cannot be tolerated any longer.”