Friday, 22 June 2012



"I am what I am because of who we all are."- Leymah Gbowee

Welcome to the world of the controversial and provocative Artist Patson Ncube and his fascinating new project - The KIZITO Arts Movement

The KIZITO Arts Movement is a large collective of Artist's local to Cambridge, London and Brighton. To date, featuring the work of Elise Naomi Buddle, Helen Lanzrein, Joe Dean, Nicola Powys, Oliver Wallington and Richard Hickman, this is an expansive and varied family, the very backbone of the project, though, lies buried deep in the complex and compelling works of the collective's founder - Zimbabwean Artist Patson Ncube. 

"How do I explain Ubuntu? It is everything. Everywhere. Ubuntu is what it means to be human. It is working together, creating together, surviving together."
Patson Ncube has been making provocative, political, richly spiritual paintings for many years. A graduate of Westminster School of Art, he has squatted in London warehouses, campaigned outside government buildings and taught Art at various different levels across the western world. However, always at the very heart of his work the concept or philosophy of 'Ubuntu' has remained central. 'Ubuntu' is an illusive and expansive African philosophy mysteriously devoid of a tangible origin, discussed by a wealth of leading political figures, from Desmond Tutu to Nelson Mandela, and embodying all the invaluable virtues that society strives for, clasping for harmony and the spirit of sharing among it's members. 'Ubuntu' essentially promotes an altruistic ethic, a way of life that requires constant selflessness, constant understanding of your surroundings and of your fellow human beings.

It is this fascinating concept, this idea that "United we stand, divided we fall" that clearly excites Ncube. He discusses the concept with a gleam in his eye and the sort of thoughtful eloquence one would expect having observed the intellectual complexities of his work. The painting shown above, which will possibly be included in several of the upcoming shows, is a piece entitled "My God Is A Nigger" and while at first glance it seems little more than frank, candid, provocative scrawling, when he discusses this work Ncube explains that it is clearly not a controversial publicity stunt. "That painting says it all. God is always what people want him to be. He is everything to everyone and to me... he is exactly that. But if he is everything to everyone... why do we fight over him?" Ncube's work typically combines these bold rebellious observations about Religion and Racism with a strong personal narrative, weaving African history, attractively abstract colour schemes and wonderfully simplistic designs with an immediate sense of spirituality, seemingly portraying one man's journey into his past and surroundings and often evoking a sense of disbelief and incredulousness upon arriving at his destination.

Ncube's work has undoubtedly undergone an evolution of sorts, from his early works that were clearly  voicing a very angry, very critical take on his surroundings, to his more ambiguous, more spiritual works in recent years, he explains, "Coming from where I come from, Zimbabwe, looking at my early work... I was very angry. It was just something I never understood, that someone could not only discriminate but that they couldn't possibly co-exist with me, just because of the colour of my skin or where I come from, it made me crazy. I thought I was going mad, I was always thinking 'What the fuck?'"
Thankfully, though his work is more quietly observant nowadays, it still retains this air of disbelief, this 'What the fuck?' sensibility and it's this combined with his understanding of 'Ubuntu' philosophy that provides the backbone to the incredibly varied KIZITO Arts Movement exhibitions that begin on the 7th of July at 'Cafe Julienne' on Regents Street, in Cambridge.

At the heart of the exhibition is the idea of unity. The sense that the collective is more important than the individual, and fittingly, Ncube has gathered an unusually varied community of Artists who will be contributing to the series of KIZITO Art exhibitions, set to descend upon several locations in Cambridge, before travelling to Brighton and then later in the year, showing at various London galleries and spaces. One of these individuals is Elise Naomi Buddle, a Brighton-based Artist whose gloriously hypnotic works (above) explore notions of control in society, both in their conception and in their complex execution. She creates expansive, truly visually arresting works, rich with ambiguous imagery and symbolism, that evoke atmospheric landscapes seemingly inspired by abstract forms. When seen alongside Ncube's own spiritual journey's the works compliment and communicate with each other; illustrating the truly collaborative nature of 'Ubuntu' philosophy and the unity that lies within very different Artist's work.

Oliver Wallington's work, (above) large abstract paintings, site-specific and video installations, explore violence and intimacy using grotesque, fractured forms and looming religious imagery while casting a broad cynical eye at contemporary society and it's treatment of the themes central to his work. Though perhaps a little less aesthetically pleasing than Buddle or Ncube's work, again when seen together in a KIZITO exhibition, the sense of collaboration and collective exploration translate beautifully. (If I may say so myself.)

Another greatly anticipated contributor is the hugely talented Joe Dean - a superb figurative Artist whose own work draws on delicate observations of nature and his environment and captures, in stunning oils, beautiful moments from a wide range of classic Cinematic moments, will be a particular hit at The Cambridge Arts Picturehouse, which is where the exhibition moves on the 3rd of August.

Upon reflection, observing the various members of this new KIZITO Arts Collective, many of which are not covered in this article, one is struck by the incredible quality of the varied work on show and the inexplicable sense of unity that a collection of their work evokes, in fact an important 'Ubuntu' philosophy suddenly springs to mind, in the words of Desmond Tutu "We think of ourselves far too frequently as just individuals, separated from one another, whereas, in fact, we are all connected and what we do affects the whole World. When you do well, it spreads out; it is for the whole of humanity."

The KIZITO Arts Movement looks to combine the insurmountable talents of a variety of contemporary Artist who might otherwise be overlooked or remain solitary and create a series of exhibitions that will continue to evolve and grow, adding members as they travel, spreading their message of community and unity and showcasing a broad plethora of stunning talent while actively illustrating the power and beauty of thoughtfully curated ensemble exhibitions. Together indeed, they stand and united they surely won't fall.

Find the KIZITO Arts Movement at; 
twitter: @KIZITOArts



The KIZITO Art Movement are: 
Elise Naomi Buddle
Helen Lanzrein
Joe Dean
Patson Ncube/KIZITO
Nicola Powys
Oliver Wallington
Richard Hickman

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