Chatsworth 29.9270° S, 30.8843° E
Lucelle. B. Pillay. Chatsworth 29.9270° S, 30.8843° E . 2023. Large Format Digital Print on PVC (3x2m)
The artwork, 'Chatsworth 29.9270° S, 30.8843° E' forms part of the exhibition, 'Afterisms: Excentric Data-Fluid Narratives'. The artist combines and morphs existing photographic imagery to create a monolithic representation of her place of birth. Chatsworth is a large township in KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa established in the 1950s to segregate the Indian population and create a buffer between the white suburbs of Durban to the north and the black townships of Durban to the south. Originally created by the Afrikaner government as a low-cost housing settlement for Indians only, during the apartheid era, the suburb is currently home to mainly Indian/Asian and Black African people. It has a dark past, as many of its inhabitants were forcibly relocated to Chatsworth, under the cruel legislature of the 'Group Areas Act' (1950). This act demarcated urban centres, beaches and prime suburbs as 'White only' areas, whilst relegating Indian and Black people to far-flung 'townships'.
The book, 'Chatsworth the making of a Township' by Dr Ashwin Desai & Dr Goolam Vahed, is one of the primary resources that theoretical underpins the visual research for this ethnographical study of Indian identity. The majority of the inhabitants of Chatsworth would be the descendants of the Indentured Labourers brought to the African continent to work in the sugar cane fields during British colonialism. Chatsworth becomes the geographic catchment of the largest population of Indians outside India. The artist transmogrifies the locale of Chatsworth into a reflective memory of a place that branded the 'Sign of difference' onto her formation of identity.