Professor Samson Kambalu

Subject: Fine Art

Department: Fine Art

College appointment: Fellow by Special Election

Academic position: Associate Professor of Fine Art at Ruskin School of Art





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 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


Professor of fine art at the Ruskin School of Art, fine art fellow at Magdalen College.


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.


2019, The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind, BBC, Netflix (Actor, Translator, and consultant)

Selected Exhibitions