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Through the lens of love, fear and faith

The Ganges Secondary School teacher had his work displayed at the Durban Art gallery, which spanned for over a month and now hopes to tell his story throughout the country through his artwork.

A Merebank design teacher, traveller, art exhibitionist and photographer used his lens to share his epic journey climbing the Himalayas/Everest Mountains in Nepal, last April. The photographs chronicled the impact of the earthquake that shook the village and forever changed the life of Ernest Pillay. The Ganges Secondary School teacher had his work displayed at the Durban Art gallery, which spanned for over a month and now hopes to tell his story throughout the country through his artwork.

Merebank teacher, Ernest Pillay stands beside one of his reminiscent photographs, which was displayed at the Durban Art Gallery, last month.
Merebank teacher, Ernest Pillay stands beside one of his reminiscent photographs, which was displayed at the Durban Art Gallery, last month.

Speaking to the Rising Sun, Pillay detailed his experience, “My wife had planned a trip for us to climb Mount Everest and three days into the trek, she succumbed to acute mountain syndrome (AMS) and had developed High Altitude Pulmonary Edema (HAPE). She had to be airlifted to hospital, but before she left she told me to continue the journey. Three days later, my guide and I had reached the mountain cabin at Tokla Pass, in one of the deepest gorges in the world. It was a beautiful sight, the landscape was so pristine, and there was no colour, all black and white,” he said. It was at this time that the earthquake struck, the cabin had begun to rock violently and the other trekkers were fleeing for safety, but Pillay remained still.

“I stayed seated for the entire time and after about 30 seconds it stopped and that is when I slowly woke up and stepped outside. The sight was unbelievable, there were boulders, slush and mud everywhere. The earthquake transformed the mountain into a sight of a wilderness. I was never afraid throughout the entire time, because I had love in my heart and because I was able to continue the remarkable journey. My guide had told me many times to put the camera away, but I could not, I wanted to share my experience with the world as well as the impact the quake had on its village. Through this experience, I was taught with love, there is no need to feel pain, or be anxious or sorrowful. I was blessed. This experience also identified me as an artist. My pictures carry a message of love, hope and faith.”

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Pillay had over 180 pictures displayed at the Durban art gallery, which were curated and is now being taken to the Richards Bay Gallery to be seen. However, he wishes to take his work to Johannesburg and Cape Town to be shown. If you would like to help Ernest Pillay share his experience, contact him on 073-239-6482.