Ozhopé Scrolls: A Thousand Ways to see the Dugout Canoe

Created in 2023, the scrolls are composed of images of the rich textual surfaces of the Malawian dugout canoe, which we have gathered since 2017, nailed and glued to driftwood and other flotsam material found on the shores of Lake Geneva and other lakes. The technique of collaging the different materials is inspired by Malawian fishers' methods and materials of repairing the dugout canoe by patching it with different materials such as metal, plastic, and blankets. The fishers’ method of patching turns the dugout canoe into a beautifully textured and textual surface, carrying multiple stories of communities on the shores of Lake Malawi and of the larger Malawian society. Our scrolls therefore bring into conversation Malawian stories and those of other lacustrine regions to highlight the ecological, social, and political linkages between these distanced geographical locations.