Malawiâ€™s visual artist Elson Kambalu has engaged natural model Tad Winnie Mandala in a rare exhibition taking medical research to the last mile.
According to Kambalu, the shows in which the beauty will star are part of Malawi-Liverpool Wellcome (MLW) Trust involvement in the Art in Global Health project which has set up six creative minds in Kenya, Malawi, Thailand, Vietnam and UK to get to the bottom of some of the personal, cultural and political dimensions of health matters.
The artist has been increasingly drawn to the participatory work. Since April, he has been listening to curious villagersâ€™ stories about the gaps between traditional and modern medicine, as well as, what the future might hold.
Having brought together musicians Lucius Banda and Agorosso in Kafukufuku Arts Festival in Chikhwawa last month, Kambalu was supposed to hold an exhibition at MLW headquarters in Blantyre on Thursday, but it has been postponed to November 6.
When it returns, the show will feature a documentary film blending experiences of villagers, researchers and Kambaluâ€™s fellow artists in residentâ€”including Kenyaâ€™s Miriam Syowia and James Muriuki, South Africaâ€™s Zwelethu Mthetwa, Thailandâ€™s theatre group B-Floor, Vietnamâ€™s Lena Bui and UKâ€™s Katie Paterson.
However, Kambalu and Mandala described as â€œexciting and worthwhileâ€ a variety of reed-and-soil displays inspired by Chikhwawa women.
â€œThe departure from wood and paint to natural material will surely be exciting to people who appreciate art,â€ he said.
His offerings include Kafukufuku Man and Woman sculptures as well as the paintings Lost in Transit and The Hurdle which depict how myths about blood, menâ€™s apathy, rampant poverty and illiteracy conspire with widespread indecision to short-change medical research.
MLW science communications officer Tamara Chipasula praised Kambalu for bringing simplicity, harnessing variety and signposting community entry points where many find the
lifesaving information heavy.