About me

Odette Graskie (b.1993) is an artist living in Johannesburg, South Africa. She works with paper and drawing. Her artworks revolve around human interaction and connection. To her, drawing is a way of really seeing those around her, and she creates intimate moments while drawing. Graskie graduated with a BA in Fine Arts from the University of Pretoria in 2015 and is currently doing her MA in Visual Arts at the University of Johannesburg. She has been on artist residencies in Guernsey, London and Poland and had solo exhibitions in Pretoria and Cape Town. Her recent exhibitions include group shows at the Camden Arts Centre in London, PAPER ADVENTURES, the ANNUAL SUMMER SHOW, LABYRINTHINE, THE LIMINAL SPACE and WORKS ON PAPER at Berman Contemporary, and a Youth Day exhibition hosted by Nedbank’s art collection.

About my Work

“My library is an archive of longings.” – Susan Sontag

Artist's Statement

The themes present in my work are centred on the creation of moments of intimacy, the exploration of paper and the use of thread and line as an embodiment of storytelling. My practice is as much an exploration of paper’s sculptural qualities and sewing’s potential to become drawing, as it is about portraiture and the use of line. There is an investigation of transitory moments of connection and the attempt to capture these fleeting moments.

While hosting interactive drawing events, The Drawing Sessions, I created temporary connections with sitters, who sat for 10 minute portrait drawings. These drawings are more than merely portraits of sitters, but become loaded with the affective moments between me and my sitters. The emotional aftermath of the temporary connections made fill the final drawings – three-dimensional paper artworks and installation pieces, wherein I attempt to rework the temporary connection, love, abandonment and awkwardness into emotive, obsessive retellings. In this sense, the content of the artworks are both about the sitters who let me draw them, as well as an emotional outpouring spilled onto the page.

Paper is the medium of storytelling, a mode of connection. The collage of different cut pieces of paper also echoes the ebb and flow of the interactions, with intense obsessive cutting and tearing to analyse and reanalyse the emotional content of the work. Making paper also involves intricate steps, and can become an obsessive and embodied process.

The work focusses on the intimate and the ways in which intimacy can exist between people through minute interactions and mutual recognition. The work is focussed on small moments and looking closer, echoed in Susan Sontag’s words, “Attention is vitality. It connects you with others. It makes you eager. Stay eager.”


Photos on this page credited to Marnus Strydom.