Michael Armitage in conversation with Owen Martin

Michael Armitage in conversation with curator Owen Martin on the Astrup Fearnley Collection.

Free and open for all. The conversation will be held in English.

Artist Michael Armitage in conversation with Owen Martin. The artist will reflect on his work Hope (2017) included in the current display of the Astrup Fearnley Collection and his his practice more broadly.

The paintings of Michael Armitage reconcile contemporary social and political life, often in East Africa, with art’s histories and languages. Images from broadcast media and digital platforms, as well as iconography from popular culture and his own memories, are filtered through the artist’s oneiric and acute vision. Linen or canvas is replaced by Lubugo cloth, a substrate formed from the bark of the Omutuba tree with rich cultural associations. This material, which has fissures and seams, unsettles easy association to lineages of painting while affiliating Armitage’s work with cultural practices in East Africa.

Michael Armitage was born in 1984 in Nairobi, Kenya and lives and works between London and Nairobi. He received his BA in Fine Art from the Slade School of Fine Art, London (2007) and has a Postgraduate Diploma from the Royal Academy Schools, London (2010). In 2022, the Royal Academy of Arts, London, elected him a Royal Academician in the category of painting. 

Armitage is the founder of the Nairobi Contemporary Art Institute (NCAI), a non-profit platform established in 2021. NCAI hosts exhibitions, curatorial research residencies, libraries and archives, as well as other educational initiatives that enrich the discourse on contemporary creative practices in the region. 

Solo exhibitions include: Kunsthaus Bregenz, Austria (2023); White Cube Bermondsey, London (2022); Kunsthalle Basel (2022); Calcografía Nacional, Real Academia de Bellas Artes de San Fernando, Madrid (2022); Ny Carlsberg Glyptotek, Copenhagen (2021); Royal Academy, London (2021); Haus der Kunst, Munich (2020); The Norval Foundation, Cape Town (2020); Projects 110, Studio Museum in collaboration and at MoMA, New York, Museum of Contemporary Art Sydney (2019); Fondazione Sandretto Re Rebaudengo, Turin (2019); South London Gallery (2017); Turner Contemporary, Margate, UK (2017); White Cube, Hong Kong (2017); Berkeley Art Museum and Pacific Film Archive, San Francisco (2016); White Cube, London (2015); and Royal Academy Schools Studios, London (2010). 

Selected group exhibitions include: The Museum of Fine Arts, Houston (2023); Tate Modern, London (2023); Astrup Fearnley Museum of Modern Art, Oslo (2023); Zeitz MOCAA, Cape Town (2022); Galerie Rudolfinum, Prague (2022); Tate Britain (2022); Royal Academy Summer Exhibition, London (2022); The Drawing Center, New York (2022); British Art Show 9, UK (2021-2022); Palais de Tokyo, Paris (2021); Royal Academy Summer Exhibition, London (2021); Pallant House Gallery, Chichester, UK (2021); Diversity United, Flughafen Tempelhof, Berlin (2021); Drawing Biennial, Drawing Room, London (2021); The Warehouse, Dallas (2020); Whitechapel Gallery, London (2020); 58th Venice Biennale (2019); Nasher Museum of Art, Durham, North Carolina (2018); Prospect.4, New Orleans (2017); Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art, Edinburgh (2017); HOME, Manchester, UK (2016); Yuan Art Museum, Beijing (2015); 13th Biennale de Lyon, France (2015); Palazzo Capris, Turin, Italy (2015); South London Gallery (2014); and Drawing Room, London (2013) 

Børre Sæthre, My Private Sky, 2001. Exhibition view, Before Tomorrow. © Astrup Fearnley Museet, 2023. Photo: Christian Øen.

Astrup Fearnley Collection

The Astrup Fearnley Collection is one of Europe’s most comprehensive collections of international contemporary art.