Samson Kambalu was born in 1975 in Malawi. He lives and works in Oxford where he is an Associate Professor of Fine Art and a lifelong fellow at Magdalen College, Oxford University. Kambalu's often irreverent fusion of social, national and artistic tropes and identities is intentionally mischievous and provocative. His aim is to skew our reading of cultural behaviour and customs and to seek out the areas where humanity meets. The artist grounds his multi-media practice in Nyau culture – a secret society of the Chewa tribe, Malawi, which is especially known for its ritual mask performances. Kambalu’s ‘Nyau Cinema’ is characterised by spontaneity, playfulness and a non-linear approach to time. Kambalu's proposal for the Fourth Plinth Commission, Antelope, will be presented in Trafalgar Square in 2022. Kambalu’s largest solo exhibition, New Liberia, is at Modern Art Oxford, May - September 2021. Samson Kambalu: Black Jack is an outdoor presentation of remixed flags on Mandela Walk, Southbank Centre, London, until September 2021. An exhibition of Kambalu’s work, Permanent Strike, will be presented at Culturgest, Portugal, 2021. Kambalu is participating in The Athens Biennale 2021.
Kambalu featured in All the World's Futures, the 56th Venice Biennale, curated by Okwui Enwezor. His work has been included in numerous international exhibitions and projects including the Dakar Biennial (2014, 2016); Tokyo International Art Festival (2009) and Liverpool Biennial (2004, 2016). He has had solo exhibitions at Culturgest, Lisbon, Portugal (2021); Modern Art Oxford (2021); PEER Gallery, London, UK (2020); Mu.ZEE, Ostend, Belgium (2020); Whitechapel Gallery, London, UK (2016); Logan Centre, Chicago, U.S.A (2016); NSU Art Museum, Fort Lauderdale, Miami, U.S.A (2016); Kunsthalle Mainz, Germany (2016).