Odette Graskie (b.1993) is a contemporary artist from Johannesburg, South Africa. She works with paper, artists’ books, and drawing. Her artworks investigate human interaction, intimacy and affective connection. Most recently Graskie exhibited the solo show Drawing as Movement at the Karoo National Arts Festival in Oudtshoorn, South Africa. In 2023, Graskie completed her MA in Visual Arts with the University of Johannesburg, culminating in her solo exhibition a line, a thread, a conversation at Berman Contemporary. The focus of her thesis was the relationship between sitter, artist and artwork in an interventive portraiture practice. Graskie is a Junior Bookbinder at Pulp Paperworks. She has also participated in artist residencies locally in Howick, KZN, as well as internationally in Britain, Guernsey and Poland. Her recent group exhibitions include the 2020s: new forms of abstraction part 1 and part 2 at Berman Contemporary; An Im/perfect Balance at Ayanda Fine Art in Düsseldorf, Germany; and Making and Interpreting Art, hosted by the South African Research Chair. She also exhibited at the 2022 1-54 Contemporary African Art Fair in London and the 2024 Investec Cape Town Art Fair.



My practice is based on the belief that intimacy, play and emotionality are some of the best ways in which to counteract the isolation and complexity of the technological world. Working with drawing, installation and paper, I hope to create spaces for wonder in my audience. Wonder, as defined by Sara Ahmed, becomes a way of redefining what we see and experience. “Wonder expands our field of vision and touch. Wonder is the precondition of the exposure of the subject to the world: we wonder when we are moved by that which we face.” Wonder can stir up emotions and create movement. I use drawing and drawn images as a relational device in the creation of space, and specifically space for connection. Play, conversation and interventions motivate laughter and connection – defying the formality with which viewers often approach arts-related spaces. My creation of handmade paper, paper artworks and artists’ books also invite tactility. The themes of intimacy and emotionality are embedded in the artworks. They are an opportunity for viewers to engage on a purposeful (page-turning, stepping-into) level with artworks based on emotionality.

My most recent work included a series of performative Drawing Sessions, wherein I invited the public to become sitters for my drawings. I asked sitters to make rules and thereby create ripples of affect and their own agency in the work. In the immersive sculptural installation, Threads of Connection, I reworked the emotional and affective content of the Drawing Sessions. The installation altered the gallery space by inviting viewers to laugh, cry, lie on the floor, and daydream. The space shifted into a space of play. I also created portraits of viewers, and they asserted their agency in the outcome of the installation by placing these portraits in the installation.