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IN CONTEXT | Standing in the gap

02 April - 08 May 2024
Goodman Gallery, London

Standing in the Gap marks the first IN CONTEXT exhibition hosted by Goodman Gallery London – a curatorial strand in the gallery programme which considers the dynamics and tensions of place, with particular connection to the African Continent and its Diaspora. The series has introduced international artists from Joël Andrianomearisoa to Kader Attia, Wangechi Mutu to Mickalene Thomas to South African audiences and memorably included “Africans in America” (2016) co-curated by Hank Willis Thomas and Liza Essers, held concurrently with the Johannesburg iteration of the renowned international conference series BLACK PORTRAITURE[S].

Standing in the gap considers a group of artists and artworks making suppressed histories visible across a range of practices and generations, filling in the gaps where things were once omitted. Weaving narrative with a blend of fact and fiction they imagine different histories and speculate on the future. They are interested in the footnotes, marginalia and on connections yet to be made. Works range from iconic works from 1970s and 1980s by Faith Ringgold through to recent and new works created from 2021-2023 by burgeoning artists Nolan Oswald Dennis, Pamela Phatsimo Sunstrum and Ravelle Pillay.

Faith Ringgold’s soft sculptures were created during the early 1970s during a heightened political period when Ringgold instigated performances as an activist and campaigner for Women’s Rights. In 1983, Faith Ringgold created four abstract paintings which she named the Dah series. Up to this point, Ringgold’s works concerned specific people and issues, but the works from this period suggest an alternative language which the artist described as ‘painting the inside of my head.’


Laminated digital print on iron plate, aluminium frame, ethernet cables and magnets
Acrylic on canvas
Work: 287 x 114.3 cm
Mixed media
Work: 182.9 x 63.5 x 27.9 cm
Wood, acrylic paint and brass
Work: 51.7 x 31 cm
Hand painted wooden mask
Work: 43 x 26 x 16 cm
26 panels; collage, vinyl, enamel, neon, moab paper, mounted on Sintra
Work: 61 x 91.4 cm
Crayon, pencil, and oil on 4 wood panels:
Work: 150 x 140 x 3 cm
Mixed media including contemporary African National flags
Unframed: 151.1 x 151.1 cm
Archival Pigment print
Work: 152.4 x 213.4 cm
Archival Pigment print
Work: 152.4 x 213.4 cm
Oil on canvas


Ravelle  Pillay image

Ravelle Pillay

Ravelle Pillay (b.1993, Durban, South Africa) is a painter who considers the legacies of colonialism and migration, and their subsequent hauntings and reverberations in the present. She draws from found and family photographs and the material degradation of images over time to consider agency, memory, and life-making.

Pillay’s first institutional show, Idyll, opened at Chisenhale Gallery, London in 2023. This followed a residency at Gasworks London at the end of 2022.

Group exhibitions include: Silence Calling from One Continent to Another, Goodman Gallery, (2021) and (Un)Natural : Constructed Environments at the Nasher Museum of Art (2023-2024). Pillay’s work will also be included in the exhibition Soulscapes, which opens at the Dulwich Picture Gallery, London in February 2024.

Pillay is the first prize recipient of the 2022 African Art Galleries Association’s Emerging Painting Invitational. Pillay received a degree in Fine Art from the University of the Witwatersrand in 2015.

She lives and works in Johannesburg.

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Nolan Oswald Dennis image

Nolan Oswald Dennis

Nolan Oswald Dennis (b. 1988, Zambia) is a para-disciplinary artist from Johannesburg, South Africa. Their practice explores what they call ‘a black consciousness of space’: the material and metaphysical conditions of decolonization.

Dennis’ work questions the politics of space (and time) through a system-specific, rather than site-specific approach. They are concerned with the hidden structures that pre-determine the limits of our social and political imagination. Through a language of diagrams, drawings and models they explore a hidden landscape of systematic and structural conditions that organise our political sub-terrain. This sub-space is framed by systems which transverse multiple realms (technical, spiritual economic, psychological, etc) and therefore Dennis’ work can be seen as an attempt to stitch these, sometime opposed, sometimes complimentary, systems together. To read technological systems alongside spiritual systems, to combine political fictions with science fiction.

Dennis’ is the 2016 winner of the FNB Arts Prize, and has exhibited in various solo and group shows, including the 9th Berlin Biennale (2016), the Young Congo Biennale (2019), Museu d’Art Contemporani de Barcelona (MACBA), Architekturmuseum der TU München, Palais de Tokyo (Paris) and ARoS Aarhus (Denmark). They were the 2020 artist in residence at NTUCCA (Singapore) and the 2021 artist in residence at the Delfina Foundation (London).

Dennis’ work featured at the Liverpool Biennale with their installation, ‘no conciliation is possible (working diagram)’ in 2023, as well as Kunsthalle Bern and Van Abbe Museum. Dennis also participated in the 12th edition of the Seoul Mediacity Biennale as well as the ‘back wall project’ at the Kunsthalle Basel.

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Hank  Willis Thomas image

Hank Willis Thomas

Hank Willis Thomas (b. 1976, New Jersey, United States) is a conceptual artist working primarily with themes related to perspective, identity, commodity, media, and popular culture.

Thomas has exhibited throughout the United States and abroad including the International Center of Photography, New York; Guggenheim Museum Bilbao, Spain; Musée du quai Branly, Paris; Hong Kong Arts Centre, Hong Kong, and the Witte de With Center for Contemporary Art, Netherlands.

Thomas’ work is included in numerous public collections including the Museum of Modern Art, New York; Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York; Whitney Museum of American Art, New York; Brooklyn Museum, New York; High Museum of Art, Atlanta, and National Gallery of Art, Washington D.C.

His collaborative projects include Question Bridge: Black Males, In Search Of The Truth (The Truth Booth), Writing on the Wall, and the artist-run initiative for art and civic engagement For Freedoms, which in 2017 was awarded the ICP Infinity Award for New Media and Online Platform. Thomas is also the recipient of the Gordon Parks Foundation Fellowship (2019), the Guggenheim Foundation Fellowship (2018), Art for Justice Grant (2018), AIMIA | AGO Photography Prize (2017), Soros Equality Fellowship (2017), and is a member of the New York City Public Design Commission. Thomas holds a B.F.A. from New York University (1998) and an M.A./M.F.A. from the California College of the Arts (2004). In 2017, he received honorary doctorates from the Maryland Institute of Art and the Institute for Doctoral Studies in the Visual Arts.

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Kudzanai Chiurai image

Kudzanai Chiurai

Kudzanai Chiurai (b. 1981, Zimbabwe) is a multi-disciplinary artist working in photography, drawings, film, painting, and sculpture. Chiurai was born one year after Zimbabwe gained independence from British rule, therefore his practice largely focuses around cycles of political, economic and social conflict present in postcolonial societies.

Chiurai’s latest project, The Library of Things We Forgot to Remember, is built around his collecting practice focused on preserving archives and memorialising social and cultural history from southern Africa. "The Library of Things We Forgot to Remember is a work that I consider to be itself a form of liberated zone. I consider the archival material and recording as broadcasts of Afro-futures. A frequency that mobilised and energised the struggle for independence and liberation. It’s an archive that brings the past into the present and will continue to echo as we consider our futures.” – Kudzanai Chiurai

Chiurai has held numerous solo exhibitions since 2003 and has participated in various local and international exhibitions, such as Figures & Fictions: Contemporary South African Photography (2011) at the Victoria and Albert Museum in London and Impressions from South Africa, 1965 to Now (2011) at the Museum of Modern Art in New York. Other notable exhibitions include The Divine Comedy: Heaven, Purgatory and Hell Revisited curated by Simon Njami at Museum für Moderne Kunst in Frankfurt (2014) and SCAD Museum of Art, Savannah USA (2015), as well as Art/Afrique, Le nouvel atelier (2017) at the Fondation Louis Vuitton in Paris, Regarding the Ease of Others (2017) at the Zeitz Museum of Contemporary Art Africa, Genesis [Je n’isi isi]- We Live in Silence at IFA in Stuttgart, Germany and Ubuntu, a Lucid Dream (2020) at the Palais de Tokyo in Paris.

Chiurai’s Conflict Resolution series was exhibited at DOCUMENTA (13) (2012) in Kassel and the film Iyeza was one of the few African films to be included in the New Frontier shorts programme at the Sundance Film Festival in 2013. Chiurai has held numerous solo exhibitions with Goodman Gallery and has edited four publications with contributions by leading African creatives.

At present the artist lives and works in Harare, Zimbabwe.

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