Gwen van Embden
The Grey Collection: A Shade of Grey - seeing treasures from the past in a new light
September 2002

Composite view of the exhibition in the National Library of South Africa

“... the task of shaking up public perceptions about heritage has fallen to curator and artist Gwen van Embden, who has designed the exhibition to strip the material of its contextualising frame, so as to enable or provoke a fresh debate. Van Embden has sought to design an exhibition that invites people to say, “Let’s get rid of the burdens of the past and be able to look at things and see them afresh”.

Ultimately, the library believes, preserving the heritage of the Grey Collection, however it is defined, is best served precisely by seeing things afresh, establishing greater certainty about why it is valuable, and then demonstrating that certainty.”

Michael Morris, Special Writer, Cape Argus, September 24, 2002

Display cabinets painted white displaying the Rare book collections

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