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bovu island


In partnership with Simaleho, Studio Verde is curating Artist in Residence programs on Bovu Island, located along the Zambezi River, Zambia. Through these programs, artists can collaborate with professionals across diverse scientific fields and work with local experts from Lizaze village and its surroundings. Our aim is to provide participants with invaluable insights and a space where they can gain a deeper understanding of interdisciplinary connections, supporting innovative thinking and inspiring creative solutions for complex societal and environmental challenges.

Bovu Island, situated within the Zambezi River ecosystem, serves as a fascinating wild habitat offering insights into aquatic habitats and ecological dynamics. Positioned amidst the Zambezi's waterways, Bovu Island showcases a diverse array of flora and fauna within its riverine environment. Its ecological significance lies in its role as a microcosm of the Zambezi's intricate ecosystem, exhibiting a diverse mix of biodiversity and ecological interactions.



Bovu Island stands as not just an ecological gem but also a place intertwined with the lives and traditions of local communities along the Zambezi River.


Thus, Bovu Island represents a convergence point where scientific and creative exploration of the ecosystem converges with the preservation of indigenous knowledge, traditions, and the cultural identity of the communities inhabiting the Zambezi River basin.

bovu island

(Artists & Research Centre)

The experimental project is currently based on Bovu Island on the Zambezi in Southern Zambia and is geared towards bridging various disciplines that challenge and repair, through critically engaged projects.

Simaleho ARC (Arts and Research Centre) is an experimental project founded by Banji Chona and Fergus Richardson-Soar. Simaleho seeks to bridge various disciplines that challenge and repair, through critically engaged undertakings. The project and the duo are currently based on Bovu Island, a community-owned riverine island on the Zambezi.


Bovu, called Simaleho by the indigenous Tokaleya community, is an island that has existed in collective memory as a space of anti-colonial resistance. Locals would gather during wakes to honour the land and after hunts to share their spoils, expressions that were limited or asphyxiated by the arc of history. In the same sense, the project embodies the spirit of resistance.




These programs bring together a diverse and collaborative community of international and local artists, designers, conservation experts, scientists and community members. Through interactions with fellow artists from a diverse range of practices,  and collaboration with the local community, participants will be encouraged to think critically about their role in addressing environmental and social issues. The program will challenge artists to explore new perspectives, push their artistic boundaries, and develop projects with a lasting impact.


Themes for the residency programs could include botanical exploration and ethnobotany, water and river conservation, sustainable art practices, climate change resilience, and wildlife conservation. Artists will be encouraged to draw inspiration from the region's rich cultural heritage and ecological diversity, developing projects that contribute to the preservation of indigenous knowledge and the development of innovative sustainable solutions.




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