Kiasma, ARS 22 – Samson Kambalu, Hiltunen Republic / Living Encounters 8.4.–16.10.2022 / Photo: Pirje Mykkänen Finnish National Gallery

Samson Kambalu takes part in ARS22 – Living Encounters, Kiasma, Helsinki, with a new commissioned work Hiltunen Rupublic, a series of new paintings and psychogeographical films inspired by Eila Hiltunen‘s early model for the Sibelius monument.

ARS22 – Living Encounters explores the big questions and stories of our time. The exhibition brings together international contemporary art and the public in a space dedicated to shared experiences and community. ARS22 features works by 55 artists or groups from 26 different countries.


Fracture Empire: Culturgest, Lisbon

2 OCT 2021 – 6 FEB 2022

Samson Kambalu gained international recognition when he was included in the central exhibition of the Venice Biennale, in 2015. On that occasion, Kambalu presented a group of his films entitled Nyau: small black-and-white clips, without any sound, which capture his own performances at different places all around the world. The result of a deliberate mixture of the influences of the ancestral African culture with the situationist movement, Kambalu’s films, as well as the rest of his artistic production, effect a translation between these two universes – African and western – through a gaze that seeks to use a sophisticated humour and irony to dismantle some of the most deep-rooted myths and claims of contemporary artistic and intellectual activity.


Andersen’s is pleased to announce the opening of Painted States, a solo exhibition of works by Malawi-born artist Samson Kambalu. This marks the artist’s first solo show in Denmark, and coincides with the inauguration of the gallery’s new premises on Rentemestervej 49, 2400 in Copenhagen NV.

Balancing philosophy and play, Kambalu is known for performance and video installations. With inspirations ranging from Nietzsche to the Nyau ritual of the Chew peoples, the artist’s work subverts the canons on Western philosophy, art and cinemas through the lens of his Malawian heritage. Kambalu employs a variety of media, including site-specific installation, video, performance and literature. His aim is to skew our reading of cultural behaviour and customs and to seek out the areas where humanity meets. 

Samson Kambalu (b. 1975, Malawi) studied at the University of Malawi (BA Fine Art and Ethnomusicology, 1995-99); Nottingham Trent University (MA Fine Art, 2002-03) and Chelsea College of Art and Design (PhD, 2011 – 15). Kambalu is an Associate Professor of Fine Art and a lifelong fellow at Magdalen College, Oxford University. His work has been shown internationally, including Dakar Biennale (2014, 2016), the Liverpool Biennial (2004, 2016) and was included in All The World’s Futures, Venice Biennale 2015, curated by Okwui Enwezor. His winning Fourth Plinth proposal Antelope will exhibit on Trafalgar Sqaure from September 2022 to 2024. Kambalu is included in African Artists: from 1882 to now, the first extensive publication of African art to date, published by Phaidon. He lives and works in Oxford, United Kingdom.

FUTURA. Future as a Way of Thinking

How can time be represented and measured artistically? And how do we imagine and draft our future? With Bogomir Ecker’s “Dripstone Machine” (1996-2496), an artwork that is conceived to run for 500 years, this exhibition raises questions about temporality, sustainability and visions. An artistically designed platform made of recycled museum inventory will serve as a playing field for an international art exhibition and as a stage for a wide-ranging interdisciplinary program of events entitled FUTURA. Future as a Way of Thinking.

Eröffnung am Donnerstag, den 13. Januar 2022, um 19Uhr / Opening on Thursday, 13 January 2022 at 7pm

Künstler* innen / artists:

Katinka Bock, John Cage, Nina Canell, Gustave Courbet, Attila Csörgő, Hanne Darboven, Edith Dekyndt, Bogomir Ecker, Oswald Egger, Elena Greta Falcini, Ceal Floyer, Caspar David Friedrich, Monika Grzymala, Channa Horwitz, Pierre Huyghe, Daniel Janik, Samson Kambalu, On Kawara, Axel Loytved, Sarah Lucas, Étienne-Jules Marey, Daniel Ott, Johanna Reich, Jens Risch, Philipp Otto Runge, Ani Schulze, Roman Signer, Lucía Simón Medina, Hiroshi Sugimoto, Rayyane Tabet, Robin Watkins

Programm und weitere Informationen / Program and further information:


On 8 June 2021, New York-based writer McKenzie Wark held an online conversation with artist Samson Kambalu on the Situationist International. In this event for Modern Art Oxford, Wark’s response to Samson Kambalu’s exhibition, New Liberia, specifically focuses on Kambalu’s research into ‘détournement’, a practice developed by the intriguing French avant-garde group, the Situationist International.


Malawian born artist Samson Kambalu delivered this year’s IDS Annual Lecture. Samson is a globally renowned artist and intellectual whose Antelope sculpture will feature on London Trafalgar Square’s Fourth Plinth in 2022.

Samson used the lecture to discuss ‘The Antelope and the Problematic of the Gift’ as a dominant cultural form in Africa. Recently selected for the fourth plinth, the Antelope public sculpture features the Malawian Baptist preacher and Pan-Africanist John Chilembwe and speaks to some of the most pressing issues in development – colonial legacies, power imbalances and challenging dominant hierarchies.

He shared his perspective on how African arts and cultures can provide a lens to understand and deconstruct western interpretations of Africa in order to recast development. This included his exploration of the gift economy, Nyau philosophy and the role of art and creativity within it.

Kambalu reflected on how play might be a way for people to reclaim sovereignty in the face of capitalism and neocolonialism.

Samson’s presentation aligns with  IDS’ commitment to interdisciplinarity and  belief that to achieve radical, progressive change we need to bring together diverse knowledges, perspectives and forms of expertise from different countries, sectors, sciences,  arts and humanities. This is also consistent with IDS’ support of the recently-launched  Jena Declaration calling for a new regionally and culturally diverse approach to achieve the SDGs.

Through his talk Samson shared his personal experiences of growing up in Malawi and becoming an international artist and Professor at Oxford University.

The lecture included short films, images and other works that form the core of Samson’s work as a contemporary artist.


Melissa Leach, Director, Institute of Development Studies


Focusing on Phaidon’s new book ‘African Artists: From 1882 to Now’, curator and writer Ekow Eshun, Head of Modern & Contemporary African Art at Sotheby’s Hannah O’Leary, and artists Sokari Douglas Camp, Samson Kambalu, and Ibrahim Mahama take part in an unbarred conversation on the history of modern art on the continent and the rising global interest in a new generation of African artists. 12.10.21


In this lecture Magdalen College Fellow in Fine Art Professor Samson Kambalu lookS at how his approach to art relates to postcolonial cinema and the Nyau mask tradition of Malawi. The lecture includeS screening of his short films and charts the artist’s journey from his upbringing in Malawi to his Fourth Plinth commission, Antelope. The webinar was hosted by Dinah Rose QC, President of Magdalen, and followed with a Q&A.


Colourful and thought-provoking, the Malawi-born artist, academic and author’s remixed flags appear around our site.

Samson Kambalu: Black Jack – Southbank Centre, Until 5 Sep

During lockdown, Samson Kambalu has been creating flags that explore the iconography and visual patterns of flags from around the world.

These artworks play with ideas of national and individual sovereignty and links to emancipatory movements such as Pan-Africanism and Black Lives Matter.

Using mobile technology to create and share on social media, the artist remixes colours and designs of flags, improvising in the same way a DJ or producer remixes music.

This link between music and visual language is underpinned by Kambalu’s background in ethnomusicology: the study of music, and musical instruments, from the perspective of people who make it.

Samson Kambalu trained as a fine artist and ethnomusicologist at the University of Malawi’s Chancellor College. He is a Fellow at Magdalen College, Oxford.