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Seven must-see exhibitions in Cape Town this month including Ravelle Pillay

In her second solo exhibition with Goodman Gallery, Johannesburg-based artist Ravelle Pillay shows new paintings of a particular world wrought by colonialism. Pillay was born in the port city of Durban, a beachhead for South Africa’s Indian diaspora and the largest city in KwaZulu-Natal province. Her work references historical photos, public monuments, Victorian homesteads, and the lush landscapes of the region; colonial history, as Pillay recently said, played out in ‘incredibly beautiful, very uncanny environments.’ Her distinctive palette and painterly style recall Lisa Brice’s work from Trinidad, although Pillay’s paintings are firmly rooted in a vivid Indian Ocean imaginary – one with its own memories and chromatic hues. Queen and Country (2023), one of the largest works on view, transforms a historical photo of forgotten Indian troops from the South African War (1899–1902) into a haunting statement in blue.

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