Michael Armitage (b. 1984) was born in Nairobi, Kenya and currently lives and works in Nairobi and London. He received his BFA from Slade School of Art, London in 2007, and a Postgraduate diploma from the Royal Academy Schools, London in 2010. The artist was elected a Royal Academician of Painting in December 2021. He was also the recipient of the Ruth Baumgarte Art Award in 2020.
A solo exhibition of the artist’s work, Michael Armitage: You, Who Are Still Alive, was on view at Kunsthalle Basel in 2022. At Calcografía Nacional, Real Academia de Bellas Artes de San Fernando, Madrid, a solo presentation of the artist’s work curated by Hans Ulrich Obrist was on view in early 2022. In 2021, Michael Armitage: Account of an Illiterate Man was presented by Ny Carlsberg Glyptotek, Copenhagen. The solo exhibition Michael Armitage: Paradise Edict debuted in 2020 at Haus der Kunst, Munich, and traveled to the Royal Academy of Arts, London, in 2021.
Other monographic exhibitions have taken place at prominent venues internationally, such as the Norval Foundation, Cape Town (2020); Fondazione Sandretto Re Rebaudengo, Turin, Italy (2019); Museum of Contemporary Art Australia, Sydney (2019); The Museum of Modern Art, New York, in collaboration with The Studio Museum in Harlem, New York (2019); South London Gallery (2017); Turner Contemporary, Margate, United Kingdom (2017); and the Berkeley Art Museum and Pacific Film Archive, California (2016).
In 2022, it was announced that Armitage will collaborate with The Royal Mint, United Kingdom to design a new £1 coin, which will enter circulation in 2023, marking the coin's 40th anniversary.
Work by the artist is included in the group exhibition, British Art Show 9, organized by Hayward Gallery Touring, London, with plans to travel to several venues in the United Kingdom throughout 2022. Work by the artist was included in Drawing in the Continuous Present, a 2022 group exhibition at The Drawing Center, New York. In 2019, the artist participated in the 58th Venice Biennale. Other notable group exhibitions that the artist has participated in have been presented at the Palais de Tokyo, Paris (2021); Whitechapel Gallery, London (2020); Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago (2020); Nasher Museum of Art, Durham, North Carolina (2018); Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art, Edinburgh (2017); Palazzo Capris, Turin, Italy (2015); and the Yuan Museum, Beijing (2015), among others.
In 2020, Armitage founded the Nairobi Contemporary Art Institute (NCAI) to promote art by practitioners in East Africa. The groundbreaking nonprofit arts venue 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. In the future, NCAI has plans to develop a postgraduate fine arts program, among other wide-reaching resources.
The artist’s works are represented in distinguished public collections, including the Art Institute of Chicago; Astrup Fearnley Museet, Oslo; Dallas Museum of Art; Fondazione Sandretto Re Rebaudengo, Turin, Italy; The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York; Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago; National Galleries of Scotland, Edinburgh; Norval Foundation, Cape Town; San Francisco Museum of Modern Art; Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York; and Tate Modern, London.