So this week, I took down an exhibition that I had hung in Brighton as part of the contemporary arts festival called HOUSE Festival, which had been up since the beginning of May. I definitely should have blogged earlier on this, but life got in the way (as it often seems to)! The exhibition Intuitive Visions: Shifting the Margins bought together nine east sussex based artists who were all affiliated with the Outside In project. That project exists to support artists who face barriers to the art world for one reason or another. It has been a very successful exhibition in many ways, with comments in the book, including:
- “A very moving exhibition where the thoughts, fears, joys of the artists hit you right between the eyes!! The best show I’ve seen in a long time. Thank you.”
- “Thank you so much – amazing exhibition – best of the festival!”
For the artists it seems to have taken many on a journey. One artist had never shown his work to anyone before except his social worker. I met him and knew there was something special about his work straight away. It was then selected to be exhibited and we got the work framed for him. We also chose to use his image on the invite, which he couldn’t quite believe. On the day of the private view he arrived in smart new clothes, to be greeted by many people wanting to meet him and talk about his art. He was blown away, exclaiming that it had been the best day of his life. He did question whether he should believe all of the positive comments given to him, but then continued with … ‘can i call myself an artist now?’ I said of course, but that it shouldn’t have taken other people saying that to him for him to think it in the first place. I also spent time chatting with exhibition visitors on other occasions. One visitor told me that she had cried all the way round – she said she was so moved by all of the work, and humbled and honored that she could witness it. From this she booked herself in to come to our ‘meet the artists’ event and spent the entire evening chatting with each artist in turn about their work. That evening again was very special and another artist that Outside In works with read out some beautiful and thought provoking poems about some of the artists and their art works.
Several works sold throughout the exhibition, which was a great boost for the artists. However, the main goal of this exhibition was to get these artists and their work out their to wider audiences and to get their work seen on an equal footing. I think this exhibition has gone some way in doing that in Brighton for the project, so long may it continue. I would also like to say thank you to all the artists in the exhibition for allowing Outside In to share their work and to be a part of their lives!