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Elson Kambalu

Location: Blantyre, Malawi
Research Centre: Malawi-Liverpool-Wellcome Trust Clinical Research Programme

“I grew up observing people and events. I find it funny somehow, that friends and family did not seem to take much interest in my own stories, and so I spent much time listening to theirs. That ‘awkward’ position created a rich artistic base in me. I am among a new crop of contemporary African artists who are doing away with mere optical formalism. I am increasingly drawn to conceptual and participatory work. I love people, am interested in listening to their stories and driven by a curiosity about what the future might bring.” Elson Kambalu

While in residence, Elson will be exploring the gaps between traditional and modern medicine that influence health research. The outcomes of his residency will include exhibitions and performances in Blantyre, Lilongwe and one rural location.

  • First impressions

    First impressions

    "I will probably enter the Guinness Book of Records as one of the first Artists-in- Residence within Malawi..."

  • Interests and approach

    Interests and approach

    "The challenge is to take domestic murals to a general audience while maintaining its texture and appearance. What kind of product can reflect and stay true to the communities involved?"

  • Production


    "Health issues are usually addressed by women because of their standing in society. The question is: how do we bring the men into the picture?"

  • Final outcomes

    Final outcomes

    "The documentary explored views of the six major issues affecting medical research in Malawi: blood and superstitions, consent and gender, language barriers, literacy levels, culture in general, and poverty and incentives."


Elson began his residency in April 2012. 

Elson Kambalu's residency blog
Elson Kambalu’s CV [PDF, 87KB]

Image: Elson Kambalu. Photo © Jacob Ketulo, 2012

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