Michael Armitage at Kunsthalle Basel

You, Who Are Still Alive is the Kenyan-born artist's first exhibition in Switzerland. His figurative works reflect on mythology, politics, civil unrest, and humanity.

Showing in Basel from 20 May till 04 September are works by Michael Armitage.

*Exhibition Text excerpt via Kunsthalle Basel

Through his compositions, Michael Armitage addresses wildly diverse themes—from tribal founding myths to everyday heroisms and from abuses of power to celebratory rituals—each circulating between past and present, historical fact and conjured fiction.

Born in Nairobi, in 1984, Armitage received his artistic training in London.

He now lives and works between the two cities, acknowledging each as formative to his creative practice. The artist often researches and records life across Kenya - making sketches, taking informal photographs or videos - in order to carry back these impressions and work them into his paintings in London.

Except, that is, where nature is involved: starting with this body of work, he employed the technique of plein air painting when turning his attention to the landscapes of Kenya.

Armitage’s painterly style draws from a variety of art histories and eras (from Francisco Goya, douard Manet, Paul Gauguin, and Sigmar Polke as much as Iba N’Diaye, Jak Katarikawe, Peter Mulindwa, Chelenge Van Rampelberg, and Meek Gichugu). The substrate on which he chooses to paint, however, is an explicit nod to his African heritage. This ground doggedly subverts Western artistic traditions of which he has such ready command.

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