Our current group exhibition Imitation of Life looks at the ever changing forms of racial politics in a constantly evolving digital world. We find out more from featured artist Michael Armitage…
What’s your earliest memory of cinema/the theatre/the arts?
MA: My parents weren’t that interested in the Western Arts and growing up in Kenya, theatre and art were not a significant part of the culture. My earliest memory of the cinema as a child is of going to the drive-in with my family on the Thika Road just outside Nairobi.
What’s the best piece of advice you’ve been given?
MA: Make your work about something that matters to you.
What’s your guiltiest pleasure?
MA: Sitting upside down.
What are you most proud of?
MA: I am proud to come from a country that has been a place of refuge for millions of people fleeing from civil wars that have afflicted our neighbours over the last few decades.
Who has been the biggest influence on your life/career? What lessons did that person teach you?
MA: My family have been the greatest support for me and it is hard to think of anything that I do without one of them having had an affect on my approach.
When you’re not at work, where are you most likely to be found?
MA: Playing squash. It has a surprising number of similarities to painting and thinking in the studio. In squash there is a way of playing a shot that is called ‘deception’. You play the shot by using your body to show that you are going to hit the ball in one direction and then at the last moment hitting the ball in a different direction by using your wrist to change the angle of the racket face. If executed properly this, leads to your opponent going the wrong way and you winning the point. In painting beauty is a form of deception, it seduces the viewer and often masks the subject.
Imitation of Life continues in our gallery until Sun 3 July.