In one sentence, what would an anti-polarized world look like?

“A world where honesty, truth and acceptance are considered most valuable.”


In conversation with artist Brooke de Bruyn

Hi, it’s Caley, one of 4 co – founders over at AYA Africa, an entrepreneur project we’ve been building since 2016. I’m wholeheartedly captivated by all art, artists and their place in society as a catalyst for change, particularly at times like this in the world, when change is so obviously needed, and equally, so obviously plausible. The term “artist” can take on a wider definition within society and it needs to, NOW.
Here, at The AYA Edit, we speak to people who have understood and thus continue to harness their God given gifts to CREATE NEW, much like artist, Brooke de Bruyn. In my mind, heart and soul, we are all artists. As humans, we create the world we live in with every thought, word and deed we ever “possess” and subsequently “offer up” to this cosmic dance. The world we reside in, in 2021, is a tense place, so I guess it’s back to the creative drawing board then, ALL of us. 

Onto this week’s featured artist, Brooke de Bruyn


‘Validate me’, Unpacking nakedness, Acrylic on Paper, 29.7 x 21cm


“I’m Brooke de Bruyn, an artist who lives in Hermanus. I spend most of my time thinking, feeling and painting, however I also love to draw, make linocuts and digitally illustrate. I’m sort of just navigating being a person in the world and using the act of creation to process my experiences, as well as understand the questions that arise throughout different stages of my life.
Art has been an avenue in which I’ve been able to connect to people in a uniquely personal way. People and their inner workings have always been pretty fascinating to me, I’m actually a qualified social worker and worked as one for some time, so the way people relate to themselves, each other and within society is a strong force of inspiration for a lot of my ideas and work. I hope to do my first exhibition at the end of 2021. I’m currently working on that body of work, which will explore intimacy in the modern age, it’s been thrilling to say the least.”

The artist, Brooke de Bruyn, through AYA Africa’s lens

Caley: Can you pinpoint a time in your life when you knew “I am an artist?”
How did this come about?

Brooke de Bruyn: I’ve actually thought about this a lot. I suppose I’ve always wanted to create and as a younger person, I found myself spending time in my own inner world, drawing, painting and making things and that’s where I felt most calm and myself. I think we are inherently all artists and that word is often associated with someone who creates ‘art’ in the traditional sense, such as paintings or someone who creates music. We’re all creative in various forms. It took a lot of courage to permit myself to pursue art and once I did I felt settled and authentic, which is a feeling I’d wish for others to experience. I’d say within this past year, I’ve been able to confidently say “I’m an artist”, but I think that label belongs to all of us.

Caley: What does the label “artist” mean to you?

Brooke de Bruyn: An artist is someone that makes art. That sounds rather simple, but to make art is to create, to communicate, to make sense of the world within and around us. I think artists strive to find meaning and to capture it. 

Caley: What themes do you explore in your work?

Brooke de Bruyn: I’m quite a young creator so I haven’t been able to explore a wide range of themes, but conceptually I’ve had a stream of continuous ideas and various muses. I’m very compelled by the experiences of women in South Africa as well as what it means to be a human in the world. I think a lot of what I experience translates into what I create; the turmoil of feeling, loss, love, internal conflict and self exploration.

Caley: When you refer to “tensions of the ” (aka “binary thinking”, the “binary trap”),  tell us a little about these tensions?

Brooke de Bruyn: Carl Jung had a theory about the ‘tension of the opposites’. He said that throughout our lives we experience a bittersweet pull between two choices, two paths, two fates. Jung challenged us to try to ‘hold’ the tension of the opposites, in other words, become content in this inevitable human experience. I suppose my experience of life has been one in which I’ve discovered that there are no rules, just perceptions and often things contradict themselves. Shakespeare said ‘Nothing is good or bad it’s just thinking that makes it so’ and that was one of the most freeing things I’ve read and comprehended. We all experience tension, understanding this creates the ability to hold it. 

Caley: Do you have a central message to your work?

Brooke de Bruyn: I’m just trying to be as authentic as I can. My art is selfishly for myself, it’s a method to find meaning in my experiences. I’m not concerned with fame or popularity, I don’t think it’s an accurate representation of value. I just hope I can continue to make work that embodies who I am and what I believe is meaningful and that some people may resonate with that and that the work in turn, evokes feelings within them.


Caley: Thoughts on NFT space as an artist?

Brooke de Bruyn: I’m not well versed in the NFT world, nor cryptocurrency. However, I’ve begun to look into it more recently and I find it fascinating. It just echoes what I’ve said previously about there being no ‘rules’ and no formula. There is just art and it has a subjective value. My interpretation of the NFT space is that NFT’s provide a space that anyone can enter, it demystifies the elitist nature of the art world and provides an opportunity for artists to expose their work and find an audience that appreciates its value. It’s revolutionary and malleable, which makes it both confusing, but thrilling for me as an artist. I might give it a try once I’ve done some in depth research, who knows. 




Until next week,

Keep dancing.

In between the tension of the binary extremes.