Art in Malawi

Interview with Chisomo Lifa – Visual Artist in Malawi

Interview with Chisomo Lifa

Chisomo Lifa – Visual Artist

Age 27
Current City Blantyre, Malawi
Instagram @chisomolifar

Chisomo Lifa is a multi-talented Climate Change Activist who incorporates recycled material in his work to create magnificent pieces of artwork.

He uses different mediums and techniques to achieve his artistic vision.

Chisomo is actively promoting awareness as well as a much-needed environmental strategy towards civic education on waste management, pollution and climate change.

Notable Artworks

Name of Art: Survivor

This is a depiction of a girl with albinism.

The inspiration for this piece was the albino killings that were taking place in Malawi.

He modeled this piece after someone that is a survivor of many hardships.

She managed to get an education and now she fights for the rights of other oppressed people.

He used magazine cut-puts to make this piece.

Name of Art: Southern African Best of Best

He was inspired to create this piece when he saw that Nelson Mandela is loved everywhere.

As an artist he took it upon himself to depict the mood of a happy Nelson Mandela with a calm demeanour.

If you look at his face closely you will see how he is glowing with love and for a lot of people that’s what he represented so he tried to capture that.

He used trash and newspaper cut-outs while making this piece.

Name of Art: Malawi Vision 2023

This piece symbolizes what he thinks Malawi should look like in the future.

He was inspired to make this after Malawi had experiences several tragedies.

It is supposed to act as a ray of hope to Malawians.


Interview Date: July, 2022

“I enjoyed working with recycled materials because the inspiration is endless.

Tell us about yourself.

I am Chisomo Lifa.

I am 27 years old and currently based in Blantyre.

I became interested in art in 2014 while I was in Secondary school.

My interest in art was sparked after I saw an article in the newspaper about William Mwale, a Malawian artist who makes pencil drawings and oil paintings.

I was fascinated by his work which depicted lions and from there I was inspired to venture into art as well.

The first piece I ever worked on was a self-portrait which I showed to my mum and she encouraged me to pursue art as a career.

What inspired you to incorporate recycled material in your work?

It has always been my desire to find solutions to problems in the world and one thing I am passionate about is climate change.

When I first started drawing, I was staying in Ndirande which is a township that can be described as a slum due to the amount of trash you can find there.

I came up with the idea to use the trash in my art as a reminder of the environmental issues the planet faces and also to inspire others to change their lifestyle and use recycled material in new and creative ways.

Tell us about this piece that depicts the map of Malawi and what it symbolizes?

This piece symbolizes the vision of Malawi and what I think Malawi should look like in the future.

So there’s a piece that symbolizes a bullet train because I think it would be great if Malawi was able to have such sophisticated transportation systems.

There are also resistors incorporated in this piece which represent silos which will be used to store food.

There is also a piece that represents a dyke which is a wall that can be built to prevent water from flooding into low-lying land.

The inspiration for this piece was the floods that Malawi usually experiences in the southern region.

So this dyke is my solution to the flooding problem.

Lastly, there is a depiction of hotels along the lakeshore regions because that is where the tourism industry thrives.

How has your practice changed over the years?

There has definitely been a gradual change in the way I make art over the years.

I would say my work has improved and it is also more environmentally friendly.

My art is constantly evolving and I am excited to see the type of art I will be making in the next couple of years.

Where can people buy your art?

At present, people can find me on social media.

I mostly sell my work on online platforms.

What is your thought process like when you are creating art?

For me, it’s all about inspiration.

When I see something that inspires me I start to think about what I can do with it so every piece I create is completely different from the next and it is a new experience every time.

This is also why I enjoy working with recycled materials because the inspiration is endless.

What is your dream project?

There ‘s a clean-up project that I have always wanted to work on and we have actually started the process for this project.

Basically, we will be collecting trash and making art from it as well as educating the youth on climate change because it’s important to teach them while they are young.

This project is also aimed at enhancing waste management knowledge by encouraging individuals to take action in taking care of the environment.

Any advice for young Malawian artists?

In Malawi, art as a career is not usually taken seriously or supported by parents so I would advise any young person that is interested in art to listen to their inner voice and pursue their passion.

I also think we need international platforms where we can exhibit our work.

One of the challenges we face in Malawi is that we lack recognition on a large scale.