14 April to 21 January 2024

Pitika Ntuli’s ground-breaking exhibition ‘Azibuyele Emasisweni’ (Return to the Source), curated by Ruzy Rusike, is to travel to Durban Art Gallery in April 2023.

Pitika was recently honoured with yet another award for the exhibition, with a Kyknet Fiesta Award for Best Achievement in the Visual Arts for his well-received run at Oliewenhuis Art Museum as part of the Vrystaat Kunstefees in 2022.



The exhibition was nominated for a Global Fine Art Award for the best digital exhibition in the world and was presented with one of two sought-after People’s Choice Awards in Paris in 2021 for its online presentation as part of the National Arts Festival during the pandemic. The team of judges considered over 2000 curated shows across 18 countries and 5 continents including many of the world’s most respected museums and national galleries.

Durban audiences will be treated to a presentation of 55 sculptures created from bone, each accompanied by a praise song written and recited by Pitika. These will be presented with captivating engagements by more than 33 thought and creative leaders who submitted their own material in dialogue with the sculptures. These are in the form of song, music, film, writing, and dialogue.

The collaborators include the likes of Minister Naledi Pandor, Albie Sachs, Ela Gandhi, Sibongile Khumalo, Bra Don Mattera, Yvonne Chaka Chaka, Zolani Mahola, Ndaduzo Makhathini, Buti Manamela, Antoinette and Zee Ntuli, Ngũgĩ wa Thiong’o, Homi J. Bhabha, Shaheen Merali, Simphiwe Dana, Eugene Skeef, Aris Sitas, Monthati Masebe and many others.

“With this exhibition, Pitika has returned to bones, or rather has reconnected himself with the bones of all creation. African Diviners often use bones to connect with the realms of the spirit.  But his work with bones more immediately reminds me of the Biblical Ezekiel, in the valley of dry bones. Through the prophet, the God of all Creation makes His breath enter into the bones and they come to life.

 This exhibition is in the tradition of our diviners and the vision of the Biblical prophet. Where Ezekiel once walked in the Valley of Dry Bones, Pitika once collected bones in the Valley of a Thousand Hills, among other places. Over and over again, Pitika has made his creative breath enter the bones, and they come to life”. Ngũgĩ Wa Thiong’o – extract from his catalogue foreword.

Pitika, an elder, poet, sculptor, traditional healer, writer, academic, and activist, worked with Ruzy Rusike, the curator, to conceptualise an exhibition that would encourage humankind to ‘Return to the Source’. To a time of respect for all things, and a natural order that teeters on the balance in a time of anomie.

Azibuyele Emasisweni underscores the realisation that we don’t live in isolation, and that what we do and how we do it has a much wider impact. For this and other reasons, Pitika felt it important to invite others to collaborate with him leading to an absolute treasure trove of content that explores African spirituality, the ancestors, life and death, slavery and the Middle Passage, exile, conservation, politics, corruption and much more.

The exhibition will be presented as part of this year’s Articulate Africa programme and will include an exciting calendar of walkabouts, workshops, panel discussions, and performances coordinated by the Durban Art Gallery and The Melrose Gallery team

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