“I think this kind of diplomacy is very beneficial to connect the government organizations, cultural organizations, creative artists and open up conversations and learn about life in other places and share experiences… The exchange, loan of art, and activities allowed diplomacy to be witnessed by other diplomats, government officials, art activists, and varieties of people from other parts of the world.”

– Tim Davis

Tim Davis and Charles Philippe Jean-Pierre

In June 2023, artists Tim Davis and Charles Philippe Jean-Pierre traveled to Malawi to participate in an Art in Embassies Democracy Collection artist exchange. Their visit took them from Zomba to Lilongwe and culminated with the Embassy’s Juneteenth celebrations. They met with artists, students, faculty, civil rights activists, and a host of other audiences as they engaged with the community about the power of art in social change.

Location:  Lilongwe, Malawi
Project Type:  Artist Exchange

Davis and Jean-Pierre stand with U.S. Ambassador to Malawi David Young in his Residence, in front of three paintings by Davis loaned to the Art in Embassies exhibition.

The exchange began in Zomba, at the University of Malawi, home to the school of Arts, Communication and Design. Davis and Jean-Pierre met first with faculty to discuss the existing programs at the school and the programs they would be collaborating on. That afternoon, they held a workshop with the Department of Fine Arts, teaching Malawian visual artists how to use their art to promote democratic values. The group explored culture and advocacy as sources of artistic inspiration as well as the effectiveness of mixed media in reaching diverse audiences.

Jean-Pierre speaks with a Malawian artist at a reception at the Residence of U.S. Ambassador David Young, standing in front of his painting Autobiography of My Mother II.
Artists Tim Davis and Charles Philippe Jean-Pierre stand with Public Engagement Specialist Tendai Banda of the U.S. Embassy Malawi in front of the University of Malawi in Zomba.

From there, Davis and Jean-Pierre traveled to Lilongwe where they met with human rights activists and civil society organizations for a conversation about art and the role it plays in addressing issues of civil engagement, community resilience, racism, and human rights.

They then they led a two-day master class for Malawian professional artists in the community in which the artists created new works for “Democracy in Progress,” an exhibition later featured at the Embassy’s Independence Day celebrations.

Said Davis, “The students and the artists living in Lilongwe were able to ask about the art markets and the galleries and how the business is being done in the U.S. Also exhibiting their paintings from workshop along with our paintings at the Residence of the Ambassador of the U.S. Embassy was inspiring and a big step for all of them in their artistic careers.”

Charles Philippe Jean-Pierre