Professor Samson KambaluBack to People

Department: Fine Art
College appointment: Supernumerary Fellow
Academic position: Associate Professor of Fine Art at Ruskin School of Art
Phone: +447841683907


Professor Samson Kambalu studied at the University of Malawi (BA Fine Art and Ethnomusicology); Nottingham Trent University (MA Fine Art) and Chelsea College of Art and Design (PhD Fine Art). He is an artist and writer working 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. Born in Malawi Kambalu’s work fuses aspects of the Nyau gift-giving culture of the Chewa, the anti-reification theories of the Situationist movement and the Protestant tradition of inquiry, criticism and dissent.
Kambalu’s first book, an autobiographical novel of his childhood upbringing in Africa, The Jive Talker, was published by Jonathan Cape in 2008 and toured around Europe for four years. He has been included in major exhibitions and projects worldwide, including the Dakar Biennale (2014, 2016), Tokyo International Art Festival (2009) and the Liverpool Biennial (2004, 2016). Kambalu, who began his academic career at the University of Malawi, has won research fellowships with Yale University and the Smithsonian Institution, and was included in All the World’s Futures, Venice Biennale 2015, curated by Okwui Enwezor


2nd Year undergraduate tutor in Fine Art, Ruskin

MFA tutor in Fine Art, Ruskin



Professor Kambalu’s current practice-led research is in contemporary art and the problematic of the gift; and ‘cinema of attractions’ and its relationship to fine art praxis.

Selected Exhibitions


2017, Ghost Dance, Goodman Gallery, South Africa

2017 Nyau Western, Art Basel Statements, Switzerland

2017, Red Barn Farm, Galerie Nordenhake, Stockholm, Sweden

2016, Nyau Cinema (Black Maria), NSU Art Museum, Fort Lauderdale, Miami USA

2016, Introduction to Nyau Cinema, Whitechapel Gallery, London

2016, Capsules, Mountains and Forts, Kate MacGarry, London

2015, The Unbearable Lightness of Nyau Cinema, Gallery U Mloka, Olomouc, Czech Republic

2014, Sepia Rain, Stevenson Johannesburg, South Africa

2012, Tattoo City: The First Three Chapters (with guests), Castlefield Gallery, Manchester 2009. Roseanne, Sai Gallery, Osaka, Japan

2008, The Jive Talker, book launch and installation, INIVA, London



2017, The Public Body, Artspace, Sidney, Australia

2017, Afriques Capitales, La Villette, Paris

2017, Cinema Mon Armour, Aargauer Kunsthaus, Aarau, Switzerland

2016, Retrogarde, The Rogan Centre, University of Chicago, USA

2016 Detail is All, Kunsthalle Mainz, Germany

2016 Dakar Biennale, Senegal

2016 Liverpool Biennial, UK

2016 Art Festival Watou, Belgium

2015 Venice Biennale –All the World’s Futures

2015 Embodied Nikolaj Kunsthal, Copenhagen, Denmark

2015 50/50 New Church Museum, Cape Town

2015, Drawing Biennial, London

2015 Transformation Marathon, Serpentine Gallery. London

2015 Schema, Stevenson Cape Town, South Africa 2015 Venice Biennale, All the World’s Futures

2014, Chroma, Stevenson Cape Town, South Africa 2014, Dakar Biennial, Senegal

2014, Nyau!, Espace D’art Contemporain, Porrentury, Switzerland

2014, The Book Lovers, De Appel, Amsterdam

2013, The Book Lovers, Museum of Modern Art, Warsaw