Who an earth are The Kibbo Kift Kindred?
The movement was started by John Hargrave – artist, novelist, copywriter – and former commissioner in Robert Baden-Powell’s Boy Scout movement, excommunicated for challenging the militaristic sympathies of the establishment. Hargrave strongly believed in communing with nature and created the Kindred in 1927 hoping to train a body of people that would lead a corrupt and directionless society back to health and prosperity.
Woodcraft and outdoors pursuits like hiking and camping were all regular pursuits and took on a kind of spiritual importance for the merry band, with different clans, tribes and lodges around the country gathering annually at Whitsun to parade their tribal totems.
The Kibbo Kift believed in a complex social, economic and spiritual philosophy, which included amongst its seven point covenant: the disarmament of nations and brotherhood of man, and International Education based on the stabilisation of the purchasing power of money. Pretty enlightened for the times, the community was also open to men, women and children. Hargrave, or White Fox as he was known, helped developed a strong visual aesthetic across the group’s activities, drawing heavily from Ancient Egypt, Anglo-Saxon, Celtic and Native American influences in language, dress and craft.
Whitechapel Gallery exhibition 2015
Artefacts like ceremonial dress, photographs of rituals and woodcarvings are all on display, starting with a look back at the original Whitechapel show in 1929 – intended to showcase the group's ideas and art to the wider public.
The Kibbo Kift dissolved in 1951 and is all but forgotten, but the Whitechapel exhibition brings to life the group’s forward thinking principles and rich craft practices that still resonate today.
|What||The Kibbo Kift Kindred: Intellectual Barbarians, Whitechapel Gallery|
|Where||Whitechapel Gallery, 72-78 Whitechapel High Street, London, E1 7QX | MAP|
|Nearest tube||Aldgate East (underground)|
11 Oct 15 – 13 Mar 16, Tuesday – Sunday 11am - 6pm, Thursday open till 9pm
|Website||Click here for more details|