Subscribe to our newsletter for our must-see exhibitions, artists, events and more here
Shop William Kentridge Prints here

Ravelle Pillay: The Weight of History

“The heart of history is a critical discourse that is antithetical to spontaneous memory. History is perpetually suspicious of memory, and its true mission is to suppress and destroy it.” – Pierre Nora

Ravelle Pillay’s work delves into the heart of history, questioning and reimagining its relationship to memory—both personal and collective. If the heart of history is antithetical to memory, then Pillay offers us its soul, its spirit, but also its perverted psyche. Through her practice, memory refuses to be suppressed.

Pillay’s practice profoundly explores the legacies of colonialism traced through familial encounters with Indian indentured labour and British aristocracy. In her recent exhibition at Goodman Gallery in Cape Town, she presents a series of large-scale paintings inspired by oral histories, particularly those recounted by her mother regarding their ancestral home in Durban lost due to apartheid-era dispossession. She embarked on a journey to locate this home, only to find it in ruins, neglected and forgotten. In ‘The Weight of a Nail,’ the foundation and namesake of the exhibition, Pillay employs brooding grey tones to depict the home evoking the ghostly residue of the past and the cyclical nature of trauma inflicted by racist policies.

Read Now