For the past three years Pitika Ntuli has been working on Azibuyele Emasisweni (Return to the Source), his first exhibition to comprise only of works sculpted in bone.
The exhibition curated by Ruzy Rusike will launch on 25 June 2020 as part of the National Arts Festival, featuring 40 sculptures created from the bones of elephant, rhino, giraffe and horses. Whilst the dominant material used is bone – beads, shells, chains, computer circuit boards, pins, animal skins and marbles are integrated into the work. A deliberate act of ‘picking up’ interrupted African creative traditions. The show acts as a vessel to appreciate and connect with the depth and wisdom of African indigenous knowledge systems and African spirituality in the quantum age, and explores the healing potential of African art.
Following in the tradition of the ‘Renaissance Man’, Pitika, the sculptor, poet, writer, academic and spiritual healer is a true artistic, political and academic polymath. He is an undeniably important figure in the narrative of South Africa and art. His witty and dark reflections on society explore the contradictory relationship between tradition and modernity.
“In indigenous communities diviners identify fault lines in the community, families, and/ or in people. To do this they use bones. In Nguni culture specifically, to ‘Throw Bones’ means to divine the state of things, to help in the healing process. Izangoma (African healers) are central to African spirituality and bones are major agents in the carrying out of their duties in the community. Bones are vital to healing as well as to the process of divination. I am a healer. I throw bones to divine the State of the Nation in the season of anomie! As a sangoma/ healer I see divination bones as sculptures imbued with multiple meanings. I believe that bones have spirits and consciousness, and it is that that I seek to reveal in this exhibition.” Pitika Ntuli.
Covid-19 has resulted in the National Arts Festival 2020 presenting its programme online and Pitika and The Melrose Gallery have conceptualised an exciting and unique way of participating...Click to continue reading