Ozhopé Collective: Row

University of Malawi, Zomba, Malawi
04 Mar 2019 - 10 Mar 2019

Ozhopé, Apapanakul, Performance with dugout canoe, 2018

Ozhopé, Apapanakul, Performance with dugout canoe, 2018

In their bid to help sustain critical conversations around issues of the environment in their home country Malawi, Ozhopé Collective take their recent project Row to the Department of Fine and Performing Arts (FPA) at University of Malawi’s Chancellor College.

Row is based mainly on the dugout canoe and consists of sculpture and performances done with fishing communities along Lake Malawi. Through the project, Ozhopé documents modes of resistance and re-existence against capitalist extractivism, and critiques various perceptions of environmental issues in Malawi, particularly the Malawi government’s plans to drill for oil and gas on Lake Malawi, a fresh water body which is a habitat for thousands of species. By working with local fishers, Ozhopé brings out the quotidian as locus for critical discourses against extractivism and environmental degradation.

The Collective

Ozhopé Collective (founded in 2017) is a group comprising two visual artists (Massa Lemu and Paul Chimbwanya), a writer and literary/cultural critic (Emmanuel Ngwira) and a photo- and videographer (Tavwana Chirwa). Lemu is Associate Professor in the Department of Visual Arts at Virginia Commonwealth University. Chimbwanya is an independent art practitioner and teacher in Malawi. Ngwira is a senior lecturer in the English Department at Chancellor College of the University of Malawi. He is currently a Fulbright Visiting Scholar in the Department of Comparative Literature at New York University. Chirwa runs his own photo- and videography enterprise in Malawi’s city of Blantyre.

The group’s name derives from the word “wosopé” which is a Yao word translates as “all of them”. Yao is one of the dominant languages of Malawi’s lakeshore areas. The word was uttered by an enthusiastic boy in reference to the artists who were busy with their work. It was subsequently adapted into “Ozhopé” whose root speaks to the collective ethos that propel Ozhopé as an artistic endeavour. Ozhope’s main concern is to produce art that inspires conversations and invites people to critical thinking around everyday issues. Ozhope’s current project is funded by Virginia Commonwealth University.




All content © 2024 Contemporary And. All Rights Reserved. Website by SHIFT