10 October 2015 – 13 March 2016
This archive display features rare woodcarvings, furniture, ceremonial dress designs and photographs of the English organisation The Kibbo Kift Kindred (1920-1932).
Formed by the artist, writer and pacifist John Hargrave after becoming disillusioned with the Boy Scout movement, the Kibbo Kift philosophy was based on a shared appreciation of nature and handicraft, as well as a commitment to world peace. Though small in number, notable members of the group included suffragettes, scientists and the novelist H.G.Wells.
A 1929 exhibition at the Whitechapel Gallery was a way of spreading their ideas, and this display reveals their remarkable aesthetic drawn from ancient Egyptian, Anglo-Saxon, Celtic and Native American crafts, dress and language. Through revealing photographs and footage of the group on parades and camping trips, this display presents not only a forgotten moment in British social movements but a futuristic vision which continues to resonate today.
The Craft of the Woods
Thu 10 Mar, 7pm
Join an evening of art, music and conversation with exhibition co-curator Annebella Pollen, who discusses the creative inspiration that can be found in Kibbo Kift ideas and imagery with musician Judge Smith, co-writer of the 1976 Kibbo Kift musical.
Art, Politics and Magic: The Kibbo Kift Kindred
Sat 6 Feb, 11.30am–6pm
The Whitechapel Gallery’s day long-symposium dedicated to the Kibbo Kift Kindred brings together artists, academics, Kibbo Kift descendants and members of related groups.
Whitechapel Gallery archive displays are generously supported by Catherine and Franck Petitgas.
Intellectual Barbarians: The Kibbo Kift Kindred is co-curated by Dr Annebella Pollen, Principal Lecturer, History of Art and Design and AHRC Research Fellow, University of Brighton, and Dr Nayia Yiakoumaki, Curator: Archive Gallery, Whitechapel Gallery.