Grace Ndiritu: The Healing Pavilion

24 Nov 2022-23 Apr 2023


‘The Healing Pavilion’ is a new art commission by British-Kenyan visual artist Grace Ndiritu. It reveals violent pasts and hidden power dynamics at the foundation of Western museology, while reflecting attitudes and practices towards African objects in many European museum collections.

It consists of two large-scale tapestries based on archival images from Wellcome Collection and the Ethnologisches Museum, Berlin, titled ‘Repair (1915)’ and ‘Restitution (1973)’, respectively. It asks what has changed since these photographs were taken, while radically reimagining what textiles and architecture can do in a museum burdened by colonial history. 

Inspired by Japanese Zen Buddhist temples, Ndiritu has created a pavilion to hold the tapestries. This structure reactivates the museum as a space to encounter, contemplate, ask questions, exchange, listen, share and meditate.

Lined with walnut panels taken from Wellcome Collection’s ‘Medicine Man‘ gallery, which closes shortly after this exhibition opens, the pavilion embodies a physical transformation of the past. Through her practice, Ndiritu asks how we might energetically and architecturally reinvent the role of contemporary museums and transform these institutional spaces.

‘The Healing Pavilion‘ is curated by Janice Li and Emily Sargent.