Grace Ndiritu

 

Grace Ndiritu (Kenya/UK) studied Textile Art at Winchester School of Art, UK; De Ateliers, Amsterdam 1998-2000: guest tutors included Marlene Dumas (painter), Steve McQueen (film director), Tacita Dean (artist) and Stan Douglas (artist); UK studio residency, Delfina Studio Trust, London (2004-2006), International Residency, Recollets, Paris (2013), MACBA & L'Appartement 22, Rabat, international residency (2014), Galveston Artists Residency, Texas (2014 -2015), Laboratoires d'Aubervilliers, Paris (2016-2017), Thalie Art Foundation, Brussels (2017-2018).

Ndiritu took the radical decision in 2012 only to spend time in the city when necessary, and to otherwise live in rural, alternative and often spiritual communities, while expanding her research into nomadic lifestyles and training in esoteric studies such as shamanism, which she began over 16 years ago. Her research so far has taken her to both Thai and Tibetan Buddhist monasteries, permaculture communities in New Zealand, forest tree dwellers in Argentina, neo-tribal festivals such the 'Burning Man' in Nevada, a Hare Krishna ashram and the 'Findhorn' New Age community in Scotland. Her research into community life has so far resulted in the founding of The Ark: Center For Interdisciplinary Experimentation.

In 2012 Ndiritu began creating a new body of works under the title Healing The Museum. It came out of a need to re-introduce non-rational methodologies such as shamanism to re-activate the 'sacredness' of art spaces. Ndiritu believes that most modern art institutions are out of sync with their audiences’ everyday experiences and the widespread socio-economical and political changes that have taken place globally in the recent decades, have further eroded the relationship between museums and their audiences. Museums are dying. Ndiritu sees shamanism as a way to re-activate the dying art space as a space for sharing, participation and ethics. From prehistoric to modern times the shaman was not only the group healer and facilitator of peace but also the creative; the artist. Her most ambitious shamanic performance to date included staff members of the U.N. NATO & EU parliament, activists, and refugees at Thalielab, Brussels (2018). A briefing paper on climate change and refugees directly inspired by the performance, written by one of the participants, has now been published by the EU Parliament Research Services (May 2018).

Her archive of over forty 'hand-crafted' videos; experimental photography, Post-Hippie Pop-Abstractionpainting and shamanic performances have been widely exhibited. Recent solo performances and screenings include Fundació Antoni Tàpies, Barcelona (2017), Laboratoires d'Aubervilliers, Paris (2016), Glasgow School of Art (2015), Galveston Artists Residency, Texas (2015), Museum Modern of Art, Warsaw (2014), Musee Chasse & Nature and Centre Pompidou, Paris (2013), ICA Artist Film Survey, London (2011), Artprojx at Prince Charles Cinema London (2009). Recent solo exhibitions include, Klowden Mann Gallery, Los Angeles (2016), Glasgow School of Art (Turner Prize season 2015); La Ira De Dios, Buenos Aires (2014), Chisenhale Gallery, London (2007), the 51st Venice Biennale (2005) and Ikon Gallery, Birmingham (2005). 

Recent group shows include CAG Vancouver (2018), Bluecoat Gallery, Liverpool (2017), CAMH, Houston Texas (2015), MAC International Art Prize, Belfast (2014), Kulte Gallery, Casablanca (2014), MACBA, Barcelona (2014), 9th Bamako Biennale (2011), International Center of Photography, New York (2009), 8th Dakar Biennale (2008). She was awarded 1st Prize for Landscape Video and Photography, at the Centre for Art and Nature, Spain (2010). Her work has been commissioned by Glasgow School of Art (2015), MACBA, Barcelona (2014), Bluecoat Gallery, Liverpool (2010) and Glynn Vivian Gallery, Wales (2006). 

Ndiritu has been featured in Phaidon: The 21st Century Art Book (2014) and Apollo Magazine 40 under 40 list and her work is also housed in museum collections such as the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York and Modern Art Museum, Warsaw and private collections such as the King Mohammed VI, Morocco and Walther Collection, New York and Germany. Her experimental art writing and images have been published by The Paris Review, Le Journal Laboratoires d'Aubervilliers, Animal Shelter Journal Semiotext(e) MIT Press, Metropolis M art magazine and Oxford University Press.

Ndiritu's essays on exhibition making and contemporary culture; Healing The Museum (2016) and Ways of Seeing: A New Museum Story for Planet Earth (2017) can be read alongside her political essays; A Call To White America: A Response to Donald J. Trump (2016), Notes To a White Left World: Activism in this Current Political Crisis (2017) and Love in The Time of Trump: The Problematics of Kanye West (2018).