Samson Kambalu (1975 - )

digital video (master), colour

  • About the work
    Country: UK
    City: London
    Place: Government Art Collection

    In this video, the artist Samson Kambalu is seen walking against the flow of visitors by the Lincoln Memorial in Washington DC. It was filmed during a research fellowship at the Smithsonian Institution’s National Museum of African Art. Lincoln is part of Kambalu’s series of Nyau Cinema – short, site-specific performance videos that engage with Situationist ideas, the Nyau philosophy of the Chewa tribe in Malawi for whom performance is a key part of life, and Kambalu’s memories of watching films as a child. The films document improvised, playful and slapstick actions performed by Kambalu in public places to encourage new, critical – but at the same time humorous – ways to look at the world.

    The artist actively encourages online sharing of his work and has commented that the GIF-like quality of the Nyau Cinema films has led to them being hosted on Vine, Twitter and Instagram.

  • About the artist
    Born in Malawi, Samson Kambalu lives and works in London. He has a BA in Fine Art and Ethnomusicology from University of Malawi (1999), an MA in Fine Art from Nottingham Trent University (2003), and a PhD from Chelsea College of Art and Design (2015). His first book 'The Jive Talker, or How to Get a British Passport' (Jonathan Cape, 2008 / Unionsverlag, 2010) was voted winner of National Book Tokens’ 'Global Reads' (2010). His work has been exhibited internationally since 2000, with selected solo shows at Art Exchange Gallery, Nottingham (2004); Whitechapel Gallery, London (2016); and Galerie Nordenhake, Stockholm (2017). His work has also been included in group shows and festivals such as Fotofest Biennial – African Cosmologies, Houston, (2020); Dak’art, Senegal (2016); and the 56th Venice Biennial (2015). Alongside his practice, Kambalu is Associate Professor of Fine Art at the Ruskin School of Art, Oxford.
  • Explore
    Materials & Techniques
    digital video, video, QuickTime file format
  • Details
    Number 2 in an edition of 3
    digital video (master), colour
    49 seconds
    Purchased from the artist March 2021, through the Art XUK project 2020-21
    Kate MacGarry; from whom purchased by UK Government Art Collection, 19 March 2021
    GAC number