An insight into Liberatha Alibalio's Residency at Modzi Arts May - June 2021
1. Process and experience so far at Modzi
My experience here at Modzi, so far it has been amazing, I have been adapting progressively and now I feel connected to the space. The atmosphere and materials resonate with my work and ideas.
It has been a blessing to connect with the artists within Lusaka aswell as out of Lusaka. The locals remind me that we are all one no matter where we are geographically located.
2. Space at Modzi Arts and how it inspires me.
Being at Modzi has showed me how much space in mind and time I need to be in a creative environment. As it's my first individual residency I had no idea on how it would work and being in a place far from home just for the purpose of creating and connecting has been amazing and is a celebration of my creativity in its early stage.
Coming into this residency, I had no specific structural plan on how everything should be and the flexibility in that is what is exciting for me, I wanted to embody my creativity into the ancestral movements, migrations and the result that came out of that which is us, me today.
The space has collaborated to my creativity well as I have been experimenting and dyeing the cotton fabrics I came with from Tanzania with the plants, mud and rusted metals that I found a pile of here at Modzi.
The beauty of being able to utilise the available things around and getting more exciting results to work on the next piece, has been my fuel. It has most of all taught me the practice of low effort but high mindfulness and consciousness in a space.
3. Interests so far as a residency.
I search for my ancestral footprints, I came with the idea that as BANTU we share a lot in terms of culture, history, humanism and our ways of being and existing. I have been amazed by what we have in common, from language, food, thought, consciousness and different aspects of our social being. This has helped in some perspectives that I was using to understand my own roots, am no longer looking at my identity or culture or tribe or clan as an island but as a hybrid. My work becomes a result of mixes of my thoughts and interaction between materials and people here in Zambia and in Tanzania.
Being able to connect with the art scene in Zambia and Modzi artists has been magical, I never imagined how much my thoughts would be inspired, I have been lucky to meet and experience the artists practice for example Daut Makala, the multimedia artist mostly working on metal sculpture installations, prints and painting, we have had a lot of conversation on art and he often grasped ideas that came when he saw my work. Those who have also added valuable thoughts to my way of thinking, include the Modzi artists Mapopa Manda, Tamara, Alvin, Lawrence, and all that I have interacted with, they have been so kind and with great mind so we could pull out random conversations that were elevating and connecting us.
Above all my work is not far from myself, I use my work as a tool to better and understand myself as social being, I embody my work with my life and am learning to embody my life with my work. Hence the life and how I have been connecting and socializing here is existing in my work, the inspiration came from defining my ancestors here and living a social life here like being able to learn a few Nyanja language phrases and being able to conversate with a woman and kids who sells vegetables on our street outside the Modzi compound has been a joy for me. I think and see their faces when they answer "Bwino, Muli Bwanji?" back to me before I ask "Nizingati maonions..." back to me, this has been my joy especially in our now fast growing cities where greetings tend to be expensive than iPhones.
Also the amazing moments shared with Julia, and in the Modzi house in general has been a refresher like a delicious dinner after a long day of working in the studio and co-cheffing with Julia and her family and Klaus Hartman, the guest artist whose food empowered my dreams and his paintings in the studio on my way to my studio always inspiring and makes me think of the beauty of seeing as we travel.
Modzi has been a blessing, as a human who is navigating through life, the space has hosted and my mind and soul well, I have been so mindful, at peace and reflective here. I hope there is more I can do for the space, connect more and work together in a near future.