‘Phila is interested in creating spaces in which women feel safe and can explore themselves without the pressure and standards that society often projects on to them.’
Phila Hillie is an architecture graduate, artist and illustrator from South Africa. She comes from a family that has been involved in politics and this has influenced her interest in space and history within the African context.
Hillie’s artwork is an exploration of women, culture/tradition and space through the use of form and color. Her aim is to portray women, their stories and how all these stories are not monolithic. The idea is to simplify the subjects and themes without extracting their beauty and presence. Phila is interested in creating spaces in which women feel safe and can explore themselves without the pressure and standards that society often projects on to them. Culture/tradition in a modern context and how we can maintain a relationship with it is also a recurring theme in her work.
Hillie’s art is influenced by the years she spent studying architecture at the University of Cape Town, her experience as a young, black African woman and her Xhosa heritage. She also briefly lived in India during high school through an exchange program she took part in. Whilst she is still exploring her artistic style, she is drawn to a simple style that makes use of bold color palettes.