Southbank’s riverside gallery of Zen

Kaylah Joelle Baker

Since the reopening of Southgate’s shopping precinct in October last year, Mystik River Art Gallery has been successfully creating a space of calm among an otherwise busy strip of restaurants and shops.

The gallery, which houses a wide range of Buddha sculptures and contemporary art, was originally opened in seaside Brighton before moving to the riverside.

This decision to move was made due to gallery owner Roman Romanoff and his daughter Lolita Romanoff, who is the gallery director, seeing the potential in reaching more people through the current location.

“This gallery is beautiful to be in and all of us are really proud of the space we have created here,” Mystik River Art Gallery team leader Darcy Poynter said.

“The response of others when they are inside the gallery is that it is really Zen, calming and interesting, and they can see our passion for the business and get excited about our beautiful pieces.”

The refurbished modern gallery’s art comes from seven different artists from India, and the pieces are often made through the use of ancient techniques.

“The techniques and processes of creating the art and sculptures have been passed down for generations,” Ms Poynter said.

“[The artists] use ancient techniques that we are keeping alive by selling their art, and it is really important to us that we are supporting living artists.”

Keeping its strong roots and connection with India alive, Mystik River Art Gallery works closely with Gallery Mystica in India.

This strong connection came about when Mr Romanoff was living in India and used to pass the gallery every day on his way to work, fascinated by all the sculptures he would continue to see.

The owner of the store then one day approached him and invited him in, and the friendship continued on as Mr Romanoff fell in love with Indian culture, art, and Buddhism, and opened what is Mystik River Art Gallery today.

“The gallery is not just to sell art but to also showcase a different lifestyle, way of living, thinking and being, and connecting spiritually with the world in a way that doesn’t necessarily have to be religious,” Ms Poynter said.

To better showcase to the community different ways to connect with Indian culture and Buddhism, the Mystik River Art Gallery offers workshops.

The Saturday and Sunday workshops are quite intimate and generally fit about eight people, with a selected host taking the workshop for one to two hours.

Already on the schedule before the end of the year is the chakra workshop with Sidney Urban on October 16 between 11am and 1pm, and the herbal tea workshop with Lewin Naturopathy on November 5 at the same time.

The chakra workshop will take attendees through the seven chakras (centres of spiritual power in the human body) individually with a focus on aromatherapy, philosophy and meditation, and the herbal tea workshop will show attendees through a range of homemade natural tea blends with medicinal benefits.

A traditional Japanese tea ceremony and a Japanese ink drawing workshop are also scheduled to take place at the gallery in October and December.

To find out more about the workshops held within the gallery, or to get your hands on some of the new works being shipped in shortly, visit the gallery in-person or online. •

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Caption: Daniela Hernandez and Darcy Poynter from Mystik River Gallery.

Photo: Murray Enders.

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