Cultivating culture in unlikely places- A Review of the Grayston Gallery

By Laa’iqah SeedSower

The Grayston Gallery in Wynberg, Sandton

Returning from the holiday season is a challenge. You feel tired and rested, hopeful and anxious and sure, but confused. Ever considered how often you feel inner conflict throughout the year? Striving for inner harmony is something we should never take a holiday from.

Visual art cultivates a culture of peace, even in unlikely places

Wynberg has been called Johannesburg’s worst named suburb. It is not leafy green with a mountain view, but a wall-to-wall area that seems to be in perennial development. Tall cranes climb the horizon of tightly woven streets-within-streets, leading mostly trucks to their destinations.

Driving to the new Grayston Gallery felt like journeying to a hidden location, one I had an exclusive invitation to. Ok, I wasn’t invited exclusively; the gallery is open to the public five days a week. I chose a random Saturday morning and walked the stylish well-lit room all by myself. Technically, I wasn’t alone; I had the work of seventeen diverse artists to inspire me to cultivate inner calm.

The gallery’s simple décor hold the space for visual art. Strategically placed sofas, tables and even a balcony area all beckoned me to slowly marvel the work displayed. Just a quick look outside the large windows reminded me I was actually in an industrial area.

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Escape, contrast and reverie are the results of beautiful artwork  

In this intimate visit, I was drawn to the surreal and poetic work of 19-year old Jauhara Allie. She signs her work as Jojo and since we share the same appreciation of Salvador Dali, I was dazzled by her bold strokes and intrigued by her abstract imagery. Her courageous use of colour and medium make her work evocative and exquisite.

I was enticed by Tumi’s work and felt immediately grateful that he didn’t enjoy studying Information Technology (IT). His love of the abstract, Islamic art and interior design fuses into the beautiful expressions of another young man who knows what he wants and how hard to work to get it. I was swept away by the movement he captured in sometimes playful and at other times deadly-serious strokes.

A heart for art

As I strolled on the polished floors, hiding from my reflections in the gallery’s tall mirrors, I shuddered at the thought of undiscovered talent. I felt grateful to be standing in a space dedicated to unearthing talent, celebrating beauty and cultivating a culture of art appreciation.

A community of appreciation

The Grayston Gallery stands atop a clothing store. Look out for the stairs to your left and prepare your senses to receive beauty as you climb each step. If you feel overwhelmed, look out the large windows and enjoy the views of “the other” central business district, Sandton. If you feel drawn to, splurge and treat yourself to a nibble or beverage downstairs – before and after your art purchase. Supporting the arts calls for celebratory behaviour anyway.

Happy to have received a delectable assignment in month one-of-twelve, I’ll be visiting Grayston Gallery again. I’m pretty sure I won’t be able to enjoy it alone again though; the owners have visionary plans to look out for.

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