Samson Kambalu was born in Malawi. He lives and works in London. Kambalu 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 works in a variety of media, including site-specific installation, video, performance and literature.
His work is autobiographical and approaches art as an arena for critical thought and sovereign activities.
His basic influences are Situationism, the Nyau presentation social structures of his native Malawi and the Protestant tradition of inquiry, criticism and dissent.
Kambalu’s psychogeographical Nyau Cinema is a series of playful site-specific performances, ‘rants’, presented as film clip interventions on various social networking sites online and in specially designed film booths and cinema installations.
Kambalu’s first conceptual exhibition Holy Ball, took place in 2000. Kambalu wrapped a football in pages of the Bible inviting people to ‘exercise and exorcise’ with it at various venues both locally and internationally, starting with the University of Malawi’s Chancellor College. Kambalu has since evolved a philosophy of life and art based on play and critical transgression.
Kambalu has exhibited worldwide, including Dakar Biennale (Dakar, Senegal: 2014, 2016), Tokyo International Art Festival (Tokyo, Japan: 2009) and the Liverpool Biennial (Liverpool, England: 2004, 2016). He has won research fellowships with Yale University and Smithsonian Institution and was included in All the World’s Futures, Venice Biennale 2015, curated by Okwui Enwezor. Kambalu has been appointed as an Associate Professor of fine art at Ruskin College and fellow at Magdalen College, Oxford University (Oxford, United Kingdom.