As 2020 came to an end, I finally took time to recap and bring a closure to a project I started with Noam, titled Our Malawi; No words needed.
This interactive photography exhibition started as a passion project, from an infatuation we’ve developed with the country.
Malawi, a small country in eastern Africa, has a special place in our hearts. While we traveled there in 2019, we had no ambition to make a large project from it. The scenery and the people have imprinted a new look on life in us. We saw beauty everywhere we looked. They don’t call it ‘The warm heart of Africa’ for no reason!
The people, mainly, have made a lasting impression on us.
When we got back to London and started collecting our materials, we realized we have an entire exhibition’s worth of photographs and field recordings, all of which of unique nature. They were from all around; portraits of incredible people we’ve met, landscapes and occasions – from rural areas, villages and city life. Malawi has it all. Also, the third largest lake in the continent!
As we returned to Israel, the idea to put up the exhibition in our home country sprung up, and with it an opportunity to actualize it. The exhibition was up for three days in the Teder at Beit Romano and received great responses from friends, peers, and complete strangers. At the same time, I have released an album with my band Awa Du E, in which some environmental recordings I made during our time in Malawi were used. For the grand finale of the exhibition, we had an album release party with a live show, what a night! I also released a trypticon of albums, on sound ecology while participating in the most notable projects we met there:
Unu House; A charity based in Chikale, N’khata Bay region, which serves as a open-house model for the local kids, giving them after-school activities, cultivating excellence in sports, theater, arts and music.
Malawian musicians; A documentation of musician jam session around the country. Every musician I met, I had asked to play me folk songs, or original music, based on the area where they grew up in Malawi. This album is an effort in documenting these songs, making up an album to spread the music out to the world.
Malawi Wawi; This album came out of the Kapeska community, located near Chinteche, in the Northern region. The project is an NGO, working together with the local cummunity to help them build new schools and accomodate training facilities and English studies for older members of the community. The music is from the rehearsal of the local church choir, as well as environmental recordings from the Malawi-Wawi headquarter’s grounds.
The nice reception made us feel like we HAVE TO show it to our newly made family in Malawi, and so we started the preparation for showing in and around Malawi, contacting everyone we could think of. Lucky for us, we have made a bond with Zilanie Gondwe; a human rights activist, working with women empowerment projects in the capitol, Lilongwe. Zilanie treated us like family from the get-go, and she has truly taken a deep place in our hearts. without her, all of this could have never come to life, and for this we are indebted to her forever.
I have made a page on my website on the topic, with all the documentation of the project, from London to Malawi and back here.
Bringing the art back to show it in Malawi was a tremendous feat for us, and allowed us to expand our ideas of the art itself. The reception, the comments and people’s reactions were mainly incredibly good, a bit of an eye-opener on the local art scene and artist led spaces in the country. We’ve met some incredible artists and spaces, and were able to collaborate with them, as well as give talks, lectures and workshops on our own practice.
Each one Teach one, but in the real world. Put our practice where we see instant gratification, on the behalf of others. Exposing people to new art mediums, and get back a smile, a laugh, some nice words.
This project has left a dent in my heart, with a deep yearning to return as much as possible to re-meet with old friends and acquaintances, which have now turned into an extended family.
I hope we can continue this in the future, but first we need to recap on the latest developments in our art practice.
Onto the next challenge; Portugal!