Samson Kambalu: Introduction to Nyau Cinema

In a new work for the Whitechapel Gallery’s Project Galleries, London-based artist Samson Kambalu (b. 1975) draws on his experience of growing up in Malawi to explore ideas of creativity, time and play.

Kambalu works across installation, video, writing and performance. In the work, titled Nyau Cinema, he imagines the exhibition space as a magazine spread, with excerpts of his writings presented on the walls alongside his humorous and poetic short films. The artist describes the work as a way of ‘escaping the conventions of everyday life, to create a space where the self is playfully re-performed’.

Kambalu is interested in the aesthetics of early cinema. He recalls watching films as a child in his village, where flickering images, appropriated footage, improvised screenings, unexpected power cuts and a lively audience would trigger a joyful and immersive live-event.