Opening of “Scent of Invisible Footprints” – A retrospective Exhibition of the Sculptures of Pitika Ntuli

Pitika Ntuli who, during an enforced exile in Europe and America, achieved international acclaim as a sculptor, painter, poet, writer and academic, will be exhibiting his works for the first time in Pretoria, and only the third time in his own country. The Exhibition, at the Unisa Gallery, will be opened on Africa Day – 25th May 2011 – by the Honourable Paul Mashatile, Minister of Arts and Culture. In keeping with Ntuli’s Africanist philosophy, the Opening will be a performance ritual with a powerful spiritual emphasis including iZangoma and traditional Ndebele dancers.

Pitika Ntuli’s passion for Africa underpins his sculptural language as well as the materials he chooses to utilise. He has this to say about his art: I exhibited my artworks throughout the world but not in my native land and yet all my work owes its’ being to the soil that nourished me. The faces of my people, the voices, the movements, the cries and their laughter’s, their struggles and triumphs are the words, the images I use to enter into conversations with the rest of the world. They are my weapons in the fight against the obliteration of our knowledge systems.”

The Exhibition, which includes a number of works recently brought back from overseas and Swaziland that have not been shown in South Africa before, comprises around 100 sculptures in a variety of materials, including found objects, metal, wood, bone, stone, and bronze. In the words of the artist: Sculpture is about mass and space. It must be grounded and free to soar, flow or float through space. A grain of wood or stone, even bone, is shaped by the fluids that have passed through it. Metal must first be melted. In other words each material that I use retraces the journeys of its juices, to reflect them, to quote them!” The Exhibition also includes a short interview with the artist in which he talks poetically about his sculpture generically as well as focusing on a selection of individual works of art.

In recognition of the importance of Ntuli’s works as a major contribution to the artistic language and achievement of not just South Africa, but the continent as a whole, the National Arts Council is supporting the exhibition, and the Opening is being organised in collaboration with the African Institute of South Africa.

For more information contact:

Magda Botha, Gallery Administrator – ukun1@unisa.ac.za – 012 441 5683

Antoinette Ntuli, Curator – ant@pitikantuli.com – 083 459 3423