Grace Ndiritu, The Twin Tapestries, (c1915). © Grace Ndiritu


Wellcome Collection: The Healing Pavilion

Location: London, UK

Dates:  – 

Curator: Janice Li and Emily Sargent

‘The Healing Pavilion’ is a new art commission by British-Kenyan visual artist Grace Ndiritu. It radically reimagines what textiles and architecture can do in a museum burdened by colonial history. It is deeply connected to Ndiritu’s ongoing body of work, ‘Healing The Museum’.

The installation consists of two tapestries within a site-specific structure, inspired by Zen Buddhist temples in Japan. It is designed to re-activate the museum as a space to encounter, contemplate, ask questions, exchange, listen, share and meditate.

‘The Twin Tapestries’ are based on archival images from Wellcome Collection and the Ethnologisches Museum, Berlin, titled ‘Repair (1915)’ and ‘Restitution (1973)’, respectively. They ask what has changed since these photographs were taken and reveal 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.

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.

Grace Ndiritu

Grace Ndiritu is a British-Kenyan artist whose artworks are concerned with the transformation of our contemporary world. She believes that most modern art institutions are out of sync with their audiences’ everyday experiences, and the widespread socioeconomic and political changes that have taken place globally in the recent decades have further eroded the relationship between museums and their audiences. Ndiritu has been featured in the Guardian, Artforum, Art Review, TIME and Phaidon’s ‘The 21st-Century Art Book’. Her work is housed in museum collections such as the Metropolitan Museum of Art (New York), the British Council (London), LACMA (Los Angeles) and the Modern Art Museum (Warsaw).


Wellcome Collection