Head to Head: A conversation between Michael Armitage and Koyo Kouoh
Zeitz MOCAA, Cape Town, South Africa 16 Jun 2020
In this week’s Head to Head conversation, Koyo Kouoh, Executive Director and Chief Curator of Zeitz MOCAA, is joined by Michael Armitage, artist and founder of the Nairobi Contemporary Arts Institute.
Armitage’s paintings weave multiple narratives that are drawn from historical and current news media, internet gossip, and his own ongoing recollections of Kenya, his country of birth.
Kouoh and Armitage’s talk will focus on the always relevant matter of social and political commentary in contemporary art and how it can respond to local contexts.
A pointed commentary on politics, news media, Kenya
Though he divides his time and work between Kenya and England, East Africa is central to both Armitage’s practice and choice to use Lubugo, a traditional bark cloth from Uganda.
The region being at the heart of his work is no mistake or subconscious decision as Armitage noted in a Royal Academy Magazine interview: “It was because I was having to show my work to a foreign audience the whole time, because I was working with a foreign context and art history, that I ended up trying to find something from here in East Africa.”
The artist’s paintings are a pointed commentary on politics, news media, internet gossip, and his own ongoing recollections of Kenya, his country of birth.