2021-2022 — Multi-Disciplinary
Malawian artist Ella Elida Banda has been selected from the open call as one of 10 residents for the 2021-2022 season of Sommerakademie Paul Klee (SPK) that will take place in a hybrid physical/digital format. Under the direction of Dora García, the curatorial framework for the 21/22 season looks to echo the major change of paradigm that has swept the world (and the art world) over the last five to ten years: the feminization of politics, and is titled Position voice mundo: The urgent need for feminization.
Ella is a visual artist, fashion designer, and educator based in Lilongwe, Malawi. Her work depicts African women as a symbol of power, endurance, passion, and nurturing, and often engages with controversial issues concerning women. She graduated from Chancellor College, University of Malawi with a Bachelors Degree in Education and Fine Art and has worked as an educator for over five years. Ella is a member of the Ozhopé Collective, which was founded in 2017 and includes two artists (Ella and Massa Lemu), two photo/videographers (Tavwana Chirwa and Augustine Magolowondo), and a writer (Emmanuel Ngwira). Ozhopé’s main concern is to collaboratively produce art that inspires conversations and invites people to critical thinking around social, economic, and political issues of everyday life. The group’s name derives from the word “wosopé”, a Yao term which translates as “all of them”, and was adapted to “ozhopé”, which speaks to the collective ethos that propels the group’s collaborative practice. Ozhopé has shown on Lake Malawi, in the streets of Lilongwe city, at University of Malawi, at the Art Collective Bureau in Cape Town, the Boda Boda Panafrican Video Art Festival, City Salts in Basel, and at the Guggenheim Museum in New York City.
Ella participates in the framework of her work with the Ozhopé Collective. The group developed a project titled Subaltern Speakers, which takes as its starting point a critical engagement with the phrase, ‘a woman’s place is in the kitchen’. They explain, “Our project politicizes mundane spaces and objects of the domestic in Malawi to speak to women’s experience in what Franciose Verges calls the racial capitalocene. The project takes on decolonial, Afro-now-ist and Afro-futurist dimensions by marrying traditional technologies of feminist subversion with new media for a politics of the possible. We hope that the digital Sommerakedemie Paul Klee will give us much needed access to critical feminist conversations, languages and tools to strengthen our work, and will connect us to international networks of other artists and intellectuals imagining other worlds.”
Ella took part as a digital resident in the 2021 SPK season, and will attend the 2022 summer season in Bern in person. For three weeks from 24 July to 12 August 2022, the artists will participate in a programme of seminars, group discussions and lectures with speakers and curator Dora García.
The 16-month SPK programme caters to practitioners working at a postgraduate level and blends theory and practice, discourse and production to focus on group research and cross-professional coalition building. The programme includes public lectures, closed-door seminars, and access to state-of-the-art infrastructure and technical support at the Bern University of the Arts HKB, as well as teaching opportunities in the form of workshops at the HKB.