Since its inception in 2016, Modzi Arts’ main goal has been to be a space for creatives of multiple displays to flock, be inspired, and guide each other on their respective creative journeys. It aimed to promote Zambian art history to the Zambian people in a way that allows them to build upon their ancestral heritage to create while not forgetting their roots. Additionally, promoting Zambian art to the art world at large. These ambitious goals made it so Modzi Arts would inevitably outgrow the space of its humbler beginnings. This created the need to move into a space that would allow for Modzi’s growing community of multi-disciplinary creatives to work comfortably in the Modzi space.
Modzi Arts moved into the Ibex Hill space in the spring of 2018. The move to the Ibex Hill space was out of a sense of vulnerability, as Modzi had creative differences with their previous landlord. This was the catalyst for Modzi’s new endeavour; finding a new space to facilitate their creative needs. Modzi had no intention of permanently settling, especially considering the building's architecture was old-fashioned having been built in the late 70s. Foresight would tell them this would be an inhibiting force when the Modzi space would continue to grow beyond the spaces’ capacity. Additionally, It had become decrepit after being vacant for 2 years, meaning it was in need of constant repair. Constantly needing to seal cracks and repair pipes.
Modzi searched for bigger and more resilient spaces to relocate to in Lusaka during 2018. Admittedly, Modzi was still in its adolescent stage of growth during this time, making issues like rent strenuous on the fairly new NGOs budget. This put Modzi in a precarious position; How would they proceed in a way that would be most conducive to Modzi’s future?
When considering the future of Modzi in terms of sustaining pre-existing Modzi, the idea of completely demolishing the Ibex Hill building space in order to create a bigger, more efficient and modern space came to mind. Considering they would pay the same amount of rent, Demolition and reconstruction would have been more economical in the long term. However, the space was built by one the of board members' grandmother, Josina Kaunda, this meant Modzi would have to build a relationship with the board members family in order to obtain a long-term lease. Concurrently, the idea of demolition would actively conflict with one of Modzi Arts’ core values; Creating in a way that builds upon ancestral heritage so as to not forget one's roots.
Modzi came to a reasonable compromise between upholding one of their core values and needing a more spacious yet rugged space. It would simply work with and and around the existing structure. In truth, it was easier said than done, with the guidance of licensed architect Adrian (Berlin) and Jeff Banda (Zambia) relaying what was and wasn't possible with the idea of the compromise, budget, and time in mind.
It was this conflict that inspired building the cracks. Building in a way that accommodates the old while adapting to the times.