South African artist Xopher Wallace explains why he is anonymous

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South African artist Xopher Wallace explains why he is anonymous

It all started with a recurring dream he had as a child, according to the artist Xopher Wallace.

In the dream he would speak to people around him, but they never engaged. Wallace realized that he was only a silhouette when he looked at his reflection.

In 2017 the South African visual artist decided to be anonymous, taking the alias Xopher Wallace and wearing goggles, a morphsuit and sweatshirt in his photographs to keep his real identity a secret. He believes that being anonymous means that people can focus on his art and preserve his authentic character. In society, I think we're under pressure to show the good side in our lives whereas in my work I express even some of my negative feelings or feelings that make me feel uncomfortable, Wallace said.

For me, dealing with empty spaces is also dealing with an empty canvas, so I can decorate it as much as I want, he said, adding that he can also include extra visual elements such as lights or smoke.

Wallace hosted an online exhibition named Inside Outside, which invited other South African visual artists to showcase their work when the pandemic prompted nationwide lockdowns, shutting down galleries across the country. Wallace said the event attracted nearly 5,000 viewers on the first day.

Wallace has been able to expand the audience for his art, as well as to shine a light on other African digital artists because of the strength of his online presence.

The times are changing, he said. People are looking into investing in the virtual realm instead of physical spaces.