Michael Armitage: The Chapel
Ugandan bark cloth is as important to African culture as Patta is to people who can queue outside Soho skate shops for 5+ hours at a time. Perhaps one day an artist will create paintings on Virgil Abloh’s Jordan 1s that are as arresting as Michael Armitage’s large-scale oils on the traditional East African fabric. Typically used in tribal ceremonies and as burial shrouds, Armitage’s use of the cloth explores folklore, religion and the dangers of group mentality, drawing from past and present socio-political news stories and personal experiences from his birthplace, Kenya. His ambiguous scenes are unusual, dark and imaginative, places where women casually give birth to donkeys and female boxer Conjestina Achieng hangs out with bestial nuns and fornicating baboons. They’re uncomfortable, confrontational and take a bit of getting used to - not unlike those Jordan 1s.