“It’s all about connection and taking away your filters so you experience nature.”
While Bepe Kafka’s creative ventures have taken her from the skyscrapers in New York City, to the deserts of Utah, it is the woodlands of Southwest Virginia that calls to her. Through all of her travels, and ups and downs in life, Bepe has found the one constant is staying connected to nature.
Since moving back home to Southwest Virginia, Bepe has been fighting to preserve the wilderness she loves. She has recently partnered with a grassroots foundation that fights Christmas tree organizations which destroy the land with pesticides. “My new motivation is to preserve the woods which inspire me.” Connection to the land, and its history, remains a priority for Bepe, evident in her actions and subject matter.
Creatively speaking, Bepe starts most paintings with her camera and a feeling. “My camera is like my sketchbook. When the light is good I will take 300 photographs then connect them together and work out a composition.” While the camera is a tool, she primarily follows her gut feeling to capture the energy of a certain place. Like in her painting Her Elusive Majesty, which is meant to highlight a Native American “marker tree”. These old trees were bent as saplings by Indigenous people to mark a sacred place or trail. “I climbed down into this ravine and saw the waterfall and the marker tree which points to this spot where I felt a lot of energy. It’s a type of sacred spot and very moving to be there.”
Bepe plans to continue along this path, reconnecting with the land she loves, and highlighting the importance of Southwest Virginia. “Here it’s about rootedness and feeling the love that comes from the earth. We belong in nature and nature loves us, so the more connection we have the better.”