In 2011 Bawren went to Malawi for Research and Development (R&D) for the work Sensual Africa (2012).
Bawren spent 14 days exploring Malawi, its culture and people. He visited museums and arts centres that, although basic and seemed to be set in the past, were ‘very raw and had their own spirit’ (Bawren Tavaziva). Bawren went on to visit various tribes such as the Tumbuka tribe in a village called Mowa. He learnt a lot about dance in the Tumbuka tribe and found that it was unpredictable and different to any other African dances (Muganda). For Bawren, with Muganda ‘it’s the aggression and the elegance of the movement that I find tormenting. With my remaining days here in Malawi I want to master this style because it’s got so much richness in it.’ He also met Gule Wamakulu people who are a cult in Malawi who practice ritual dance and have a close brotherhood.
During his trip Bawren attended an educational event about woman’s rights. He said that he ‘enjoyed the energy of the audience’ and learnt more about drumming.
In reflection Bawren stated that he ‘really enjoyed the people, how trusting they are to each other and how helpful they are which is a breath of fresh air.’ The whole trip led Bawren to say ‘I feel like I have been fed with lots of life and I’ve been fed with lots of spirit in dancing. It has reminded why I do what I do. The way of their living, is what I visioned for my new work and this experience has made it solid supporting my idea.’
Learn more about Sensual Africa