Bellie Zangewa

A.I.R. Antwerpen in Belgium hosted Malawi artist Bellie Zangewa for three months in 2006.

From AIR Antwerpen

The experience to work with Billie Zangewa was great. AIR Antwerpen offers space for visual artists from over the whole world, but it was the first time that somebody from South Africa was with us: with great success! Billie Zangewa will present work in a vitrine project in “De Garage” in Mechelen in August 2007. Also the experience to live in the harbor had a big influence on her work

About AIR Antwerpen

AIR Antwerpen is an international residence project for artists. In the former lockman's residence the project has obtained a fabulous post industrial location with the help of the Port of Antwerp. AIR Antwerpen is more than a receptive workplace for artists from abroad. The organisation wishes to profile itself as a breeding ground for contemporary art, a place where art is developed and where artistic research is pursued. Thanks to its setting in a city with a rich cultural history and an effervescent contemporary art scene, AIR Antwerpen is capable of initiating a spontaneous dialogue between past and present, and the local and global.

From Billie Zangewa

What an unforgettable experience!

The residence is spacious and light, which is great for working and looking out the window at the boats and barges passing by. I found great inspiration in the harbour and have taken some pictures, some of which will become silk stories.

Antwerp just oozes creativity, making it my kind of town. From art, fashion, design, architecture, it is all happening. I was lucky enough to meet some of the creatives working in these industries and enjoyed interacting with them in the fabulous bars of the city.

AIR holds talks and other social events making it easier to meet other artists, plus providing information on exhibitions around town. I was most impressed with the Fashion Museum where I managed to see a Yojhi Yamamoto exhibition.

Thank you, AIR, form making this experience possible. I will definitely go back!

About Billie Zangewa

Born in 1973 in Malawi, Billie Zangewa currently lives and works in Johannesburg. Zangewa remembers her mother working with textiles and experimented with sewing and embroidery throughout her childhood. During art school, she came across some silk swatches. It was a transformative moment, the luminous, sumptuous quality of silk, with its changing light and color intensities, attracted Zangewa. Combining text, pop references and a range of effects including embroidery, beading, and pleating, she explores modern city life via personal stories – pages in an intimate urban diary. The vulnerability and innocence of the handwriting, sewing technique and edges create a tension with the opulent qualities of the materials.