Ellis House in Johannesburg is the ideal location to ponder why art is so popular. The building in Ellis Park is bursting with life. It is home to students, sports lovers, panel beaters and artist studios. Art has breathed life into the building. It houses two galleries, Room and ArtEye Gallery. Tyrone Selmon’s idiosyncratic concept of a gallery created ArtEye — a huge rambling space encompassing a lounge, artist studios and open spaces for artists to perform. Most of the artists aligned to ArtEye are untrained, have been overlooked or have taken very winding roads to making art. Thokozani Mthiyane, who has a solo exhibition at the gallery, checks all of these boxes. In a short filmed interview with him screened in a back room of the gallery, it emerges that he is a prodigious reader, shaped by a mishmash of inspiring words from the likes of TS Eliot to Kandinsky. This guided him to believing in the power of art to heal the self and an understanding that art is all about imbuing ord...

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