Michael Armitage Kenyan

On view at The Met Fifth Avenue in Gallery 915

Armitage paints on lubugo, a barkcloth traditionally made for ceremonial purposes by the Buganda people of Uganda, but which can now be easily sourced in the commercial marketplace in East Africa, often in the form of tourist trinkets such as placemats. The type of extra-judicial lynching depicted here—where someone accused of a crime is stripped, "necklaced" with a gasoline- soaked tire, and then set ablaze—was common in South Africa beginning in the 1980s and spread to other places on the continent. As a child Armitage witnessed such horrific violence in Nairobi, where he grew up. To this day necklacing is used to penalize people in the queer community as well as those accused of witchcraft.

Necklacing, Michael Armitage (Kenyan, born Nairobi, 1984), Oil on lubugo barkcloth

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