Grace Ndiritu, The Ark, Bluecoat installation view (2019) Photo by Rob Battersby

Grace Ndiritu

Grace Ndiritu

Grace Ndiritu is concerned with the transformation of our world. Influenced by alternative communities and spirituality, her research-based art practice includes ‘hand-crafted’ videos, experimental photography, and shamanic performances. Her COVERSLUT© is a fashion and economic research project that works with refugees and migrants to create a ‘Pay What You Can’ fashion label focused on class war. In 2012, Ndiritu started ‘Healing the Museum’, a body of work exploring the need to re-activate the 'sacredness' of art spaces by re-introducing non-rational healing methodologies.

At Bluecoat, Grace Ndiritu has shown her work in three different exhibitions:

2010: Action

Action was curated by Sonia Boyce to accompany her Bluecoat exhibition Like Love – Part Two, a multi-media installation exploring the concept of care through a collaboration with Blue Room, Bluecoat’s inclusive arts programme for adults with learning disabilities.

Boyce was invited to curate Bluecoat’s other gallery spaces, in recognition and celebration of Black Skin/Bluecoat, her first exhibition at the venue (also featuring Eddie Chambers, Tam Joseph and Keith Piper) in 1985. Her selection, entitled Action, presented the work of four emerging artists - Grace Ndiritu, Robin Deacon, Beverley Bennett and Appau Boayke Yiadom – reflecting a new generation of artists whose practices contrasted with those of Boyce’s some 25 years before.

Ndiritu’s film works featured in Action included Journey’s North, in which the artist is heard throat singing, as the North Pole is surveyed with a camera that points in different directions, centring the artist yet keeping her unseen.

2017: In the Peaceful Dome

Concluding the Bluecoat’s 300th anniversary year, In the Peaceful Dome brought together historic and contemporary art, new commissions and archival material, to set up conversations across time. It re-visited and interrogated the building’s multi-faceted history as both the UK’s first arts centre and its original life as a charity school, funded in large part by Liverpool merchants involved in the Transatlantic slave trade.

Britain’s global reach and the legacies of European colonialism were explored by several artists in the exhibition including Grace Ndiritu, whose Still Life/Textiles - White Textiles was shown. This is one of a series of videos that make use of West African textiles, and here the artist, seated facing the camera, takes control of our gaze - through slowly wrapping and revealing her body with the fabric – provoking different emotional responses.

2019: The Ark

The Ark was based on Grace Ndiritu’s research created before, during and after The Ark: Center For Interdisciplinary Experimentation, her post-internet living research/live art project conducted in July 2017 in Paris.

In 2012, Ndiritu had made the decision to only spend time in the city when completely necessary, living instead in alternative and often spiritual communities, expanding her research and training in esoteric studies such as shamanism. Her research into community life resulted in the founding of The Ark: Center For Interdisciplinary Experimentation.

The Ark archival materials were re-contextualised at Bluecoat and formed the basis of the exhibition, bringing together non-rationalist pedagogy and Ndiritu’s lived research on community, permaculture and ecology. During the exhibition, the artist staged ‘A History of Resistance with Grace Ndiritu’, which focused on the intersections of hippie counterculture and radical leftist activism. The discussion was interwoven with short silent meditation breaks led by the artist, a performative action that animated the exhibition, highlighting it as a ‘living’ research project.