"In Art, the creative act is a Titanic battle between flesh and spirit. Each artwork is a diversion of the flesh, the body. Each time the artist dies, a new work is born or rather the opposite. Each time a work of art is born the artist dies a little. A little death invokes a greater desire to live and thus creates another artwork. When the artist dies finally, she continues to live through her offspring – her children and her artworks!" - Prof. Pitika Ntuli
Following in the tradition of the ‘Renaissance Man’, Pitika Ntuli is a true artistic, political and academic polymath. Activist, struggle stalwart, professor, sculptor, political prisoner, poet, exile – all of these mantles can be laid on the shoulders of Professor Ntuli through his storied life. Interested in exploring the contradictory relationship between tradition and modernity, Ntuli’s witty and dark reflections on our society are truly breathtaking.
While a teacher, artist and critical thinker living under the threat of apartheid in the sixties and seventies, Professor Pitika Ntuli was arrested and made a political prisoner until 1978, when international pressure forced his release. Thus began Pitika’s prodigious career in exile, capped by MFAs in both New York and London.
Primarily a sculptor, Pitika’s work expresses a sense of haunting loneliness – a distress at the pillaging of a continent and culture through the lens of post-colonialism. Pitika’s stark skeletal structures are created in any physical medium he can find: metal, wood, stone, bronze and bone. While there is an element of darkness on display in his work, he is anything but a one-tone artist – there is a strong sense of wit and tongue-in-check irony present in each of his sculptures. Pitika is also a poet: he combines classic Eurocentric form and clichés when discussing the destruction and pillaging of the African culture and landscape.
Pitika has held numerous solo exhibitions and participated in a dozen group exhibitions, mostly in London. He has curated several exhibitions, and was an artist in residence in the 1980s and ‘90s at schools and colleges in London. He was born in 1942 in Springs and grew up in Witbank in Mpumalanga.