Beni Flag: Sovereign States (this is not what I meant when I said bang bang), 2019
Sewn polyester and cotton
Work: 100 x 100 cm
Samson Kambalu 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. Samson Kambalu’s Beni Flag series references the Malawian culture of the Beni, Mganda and Malipenga dances. This tradition sees individuals donning uniforms worn by the “Keyala” or King’s African Rifles (KAR), an East-African branch of the British army who served in both World Wars, to create a form of masquerade that incorporates flags and other Western symbols of nationalism.