TSOGOLO (FUTURE) (23-7-2017) Site specific installation (river side of Kumbali grounds Lilongwe). 13 white painted Bamboo sticks / rope / 13 stumps of illegally cut down trees (in situ) / 50kg flour bags (made of woven plastic strips (bags where cut in half along seems) as flags / TSOGOLO text in spray-paint and charcoal with wood glue.

dated 2017 until 2017 (click on an image to enlarge an artwork)
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TSOGOLO / 1 out of 13


TSOGOLO (meaning ‘future’ in Chichewa) is a site-specific art installation where 13 cutdown trees are "expressing their surrender" with "waving the white flag". The word TSOGOLO is stated on these flags and the letters are crumbling off, fading away, expressing a fading future. 

This installation art project is situated on the border of old farm land which is turned into a park / large garden around the luxury lodge called Kumbali. One of the borders is formed by the park of State House (residency of the Malawian president) and the Lilongwe river is the other border. The site of the art work is situated at a corner of the park, next to the river and is very visible from the other side of the river. It is situated close to where people from the village on the other site cross the river, entering  the park and in some case illegally collect  wood. Picking wood sticks fallen from the trees is one thing, but cutting them down in large numbers is another thing, especially if that is done to commercially produce charcoal.


TSOGOLO / fading future


TSOGOLO means future. This word is spray-painted on the flag (wheat flour bag, cut in half) and then painted over with  charcoal powder and wood glue which under the influence of the wind will erode off of the bag, the word fading in time.

TSOGOLO / other side


View from the other side of the river looking towards Kumbali, showing the 13 flags and white poles (1 of them is behind a tree and not seen on this photo) and this is the villagers’ view of the installation. 13 flags showing the word TSOGOLO on white flags on white poles, as it is saying: this is the future you / we are asking for. 

TSOGOLO / white flag


White flags are used in war situations to surrender, here they are used in a different way, saying that if “trees would surrender” “nature would surrender”. Us humans should however be the ones to surrender, because soon we will extinct if we don’t take care of the nature and environment in the world. This is a message to all, not specifically only the ones that cut down the trees. That would be very naïve. Deforestation is a worldwide problem and one of the many examples how destructive you and I are.

This artwork will stay on site for a while and show itself to the people who enjoy nature but it is also made for the villagers on the other side of the river, maybe wondering what the flagpoles and flags are doing there. It would be great if the art work would create a new dialogue between all players in this situation.


TSOGOLO / the site 01


In this picture you see the boundaries of Kumbali as a green line. The red dot is where the installation is situated. On the left of the picture you see the city Lilongwe (greenish) which is an expanding capitol. On the bottom-left side of Kumbali is State house where the president has his residence, the rest of Kumbali is surrounded by small villages, which grow quickly in numbers, and agriculture land which is mainly means maize-fields, some small green gardens with vegetables and because of the river clay, a lot of brick makers (and because of that also a lot of brick ovens). 

TSOGOLO / the site 02


On this close up I focus more on Kumbali and explain the place of the installation (red dot). This is in a corner of Kumbali and a starting point of (I hope) more installations. This corner faces the expanding capitol of Lilongwe and a good spot visible for a lot of Malawians on the other side of the river, opposite Kumbali, where they farm, live and make bricks.