1 February - 1 May 2017
Doing it Again: Simba Muzira
An exhibition of photographs, paintings and drawings.
Private view - Wednesday 1 February
SIMBA MUZIRA – ‘DOING IT AGAIN’
Exhibition of work at the Long Gallery, Maudsley Hospital 1st February – 1st May 2017
Simba had problems with mental health since 2007 and probably before. I don’t think he saw it as mental illness – or if he did it was everyone else. He always liked drawing and graffiti provided him with an enthusiasm and pride that nothing else seemed to. The drawings in the exhibition are from a notebook he kept during his first stay on a psychiatric ward. The paintings were made for an exhibition in 2014 after great encouragement from the CLC Community Link Centre (Occupational Therapy) at the Maudsley Hospital. Sadly Simba died at the age of only 32 while an in-patient at the Maudsley. How he would have loved to bring his spray cans to the white walls of the Long Gallery!
One of his friends has written this:
Simba was one of the few people I could chat to about life, all of it, including what happened before and what happens after. His way of thinking went from, “I’ve lost weight because I couldn’t be bothered to make myself a sandwich” to, “I’ve been wild camping the last 2 nights, running away from police, looking for inspiration in everything to find the perfect spot to share my words with others”. Watching Simba when he was inspired was like witnessing a quickening of the soul, there was practically nothing that could stop him, which he often demonstrated by throwing practicality out of the window! Having things didn’t matter to him, not even the useful things like a toothbrush or money for food at times. Having meaning to what he did meant a lot to him though, and having people acknowledge his work gave him confirmation he was heard. I remember sitting with Simba who was with a particular crew of graffiti artist who were the equivalent of Manchester Utd in football terms, they were world renowned. They all respected Simba and invited him to paint with them if he chose to. Simba respected them too but remained level headed as I’m sure he knew his work was on par with theirs, or at least could be with more experience. I’m not the best at judging anyone’s work but I did see that anybody else would be hard pushed to match Simba’s motivation. Simba would often speak about being in a crew, although he mainly seemed to paint solo. One of the members of the crew we were sitting with described Simba as a “tired solo” who needed to give himself time to rest spiritually. He said he could empathise with his motivation to paint, so knew what a strain it could be putting so much emotion into his work. Simba had a great mind and could think things over ‘til the end of time, often drawing conclusions about how things would turn out before they had even begun. However, after he was done with his linear thinking he explained his graffiti was like lateral thinking. It opened up doors for Simba in his life and gave him a feeling of purpose and freedom.
So Simba’s relationship with graffiti in 2 sentences:
Simba was a modern day artist who found the unpractical stairways in life. Sandwiches not included!
About Maudsley Long Gallery
Maudsley Long Gallery was established in 2013 following a grant from the Maudsley Charity. The gallery space uses a reclaimed staff corridor that was previously locked and unused. The space is now open to everyone.
How to find the Maudsley Long Gallery
Enter the Maudsley Hospital through the main entrance on Denmark Hill. Turn left past the reception desk and follow the signs to the Long Gallery.
The Maudsley Long Gallery
020 3228 2830
Open daily from 8am to 7pm.
Find out more about visiting Maudsley Hospital
The Long Gallery team meet annually (in July) to plan exhibitions for the following year. There are four exhibitions a year. We tend to prioritise SLaM service user art however we take applications from everyone. If you're thinking about exhibiting why not take a look at the layout of the gallery (PDF).
You can find a selection of films relating to exhibitions from the Maudsley Long Gallery on our You Tube channel
Applications to exhibit can be made by email to: firstname.lastname@example.org