Samson Kambalu – Tattoo City: The First Three Chapters

If you have been in school lately you may have noticed something missing – the artworks from the Hall, the top of the stairs (David Newbatt) and the upper landing.  These have been give on loan to the Castlefield Gallery in Manchester as part of an exhibition curated by Samson Kambalu, an artist from Mali.  Samson Kambalu has been inspired by the works of Rudolf Steiner and Anthoposophy – hence the gallery request.  The artworks will be back with us at the end on January.

In the meantime here are the details of the exhibition which you might like to visit if you are passing through Manchester over the festive season.


Tattoo City: The First Three Chapters co-curated with Malawi born artist/writer Samson Kambalu.

Exhibition: 30 Nov 2012 – 27 Jan 2013.

The exhibition includes Kambalu’s work interspersed with a selection of original art inspired by Rudolf Steiner’s esoteric philosophy of freedom – the spiritual science that is anthroposophy, as well as newly commissioned and existing works by guest artists including:

Lee Appelby, Joseph Beuys, Jochem Hendricks, Sigrid Holmwood, Kevin HuntRei Kakiuchi, San Keller, Sam Mukumba, David Newbatt, Hardeep Pandhal, Nicolas Pople and Poppy Whatmore.

Kambalu’s first book The Jive Talker or How to Get a British Passport, published by Random House, Simon & Schuster and Unionsverlag in 2008, is a memoir of his upbringing in Malawi and the influence of Nietzsche in shaping his own art practice and quasi-religion ‘Holyballism’, centred around a sculpture of football wrapped in pages of the Bible.

The exhibition Tattoo City: The First Three Chapters takes as its inception Kambalu’s third literary work (in progress) bearing the same title. Tattoo City is a novel featuring a Waldorf educated, female rock star protagonist and her philanthropic pursuits in Africa.

Transpiring from the narratives in both The Jive Talker and Tattoo City – and the exhibition – are themes that deal with the tension in contemporary culture’s preoccupation with ‘otherness’ and notions of primitivism. The complex relationship between Western ‘progressive’ ideas – such as anthroposophy and modern art – and African or non-Western cultures, can be seen to be a reflection of Kambalu’s own autobiographical experience.

The exhibition is approached as a gesamtkunstwerk in which the works by the participating artists become ‘articulations’ of, or ‘punctuations’ within, Kambalu’s practice representing a condensation of his own diverse and playful practice drawing on the sensibilities of Joseph Beuy’s work and the artist’s own philosophy, ‘holyballism’, inspired by the spirit of inquiry and criticism of both his African and Protestant heritage.

Uccello’s Vineyard Kambalu’s new book will be launched on Kindle at Castlefield Gallery to coincide with the exhibition.

For more information visit

Castlefield Gallery, 2 Hewitt Street, Manchester, M15 4GB.

Categories: Uncategorized.

Leave a Reply or alternatively click here to contact us

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *