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PM launches First Outsider Art Gallery at Parlt

PM launches First Outsider Art Gallery at Parliament

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Bowen House at Parliament is going to have its own Outsider Art exhibition for the first time to mark the launch of the Outside-In Gallery. The Prime Minister called it a “a caravan of a gallery”. She said the Outside-In Gallery was not a gallery of bricks and mortar with its ambition to become the largest gallery in New Zealand.

The Outside-In Gallery is a major initiative by Arts Access Aotearoa (AAA) to promote New Zealand Outsider Art. It is expected to become the largest gallery in New Zealand as it involves loaning out artworks to government and private sector offices with the option to buy. The artists that AAA works with belong to marginalised groups such as those with disabilities or mental health issues.

A key theme at the launch event was the call to recognise the artists from these groups and to highlight that the art on display as part of the Outside-In Gallery was art of high quality that is increasingly gaining recognition overseas. The Associate Minister of Arts, Culture and Heritage, Judith Tizard said that New Zealanders have the highest rate of ownership of an original piece of art in the world. For the Outside-In Gallery, she said “ I urge you to find a place for the art because I promise you it will get under your skin.”

Arts Access Aotearoa works with almost a hundred Creative Spaces and Places (‘S/Places’) across the country. Artists at Creative ‘S/ Places’ typically belong to often marginalised groups such as those with disabilities or mental health issues, refugees and under-privileged new migrants and prisoners. Many of these artists work at Creative ‘S/Places’ to improve their wellbeing. However they are often not part of the mainstream and their views, perceptions, ideas and art may also be different from the mainstream. In the context of art this can even be viewed as an advantage.

The artists from Creative Spaces tend to be included in the Outsider Art movement. Outsider Art is art developed by people who are often on the margins of society, who have had no formal training. An ‘outsider’ is often seen as having a more unique perspective as compared to mainstreamers. Outsider Art is usually considered very expressive, emotionally charged and direct and is increasingly commanding top dollar in established art circles, especially in the US.

New Zealand Outsider Artists are often not well appreciated. However some are doing well internationally including Martin Thompson and Andrew Blythe whose works are generating international interest and demand. In fact they are expected to be a big presence at the next New York Outsider Art Fair. Arts Access Aotearoa (AAA) is committed to providing momentum to the careers of such artists from across the country by promoting the Creative ‘S/places’ that these artists work with.

“Arts Access Aotearoa (AAA) wants to promote New Zealand Outsider Artists in line with the recognition Outsider Artists receive overseas. We feel things there is a momentum building up especially as this has been recognised at Parliament through this launch. ” says Julie Donvin-Irons, Executive Director, AAA.

If you happen to be a guest at Bowen House at Parliament, do make it a point to view the Outside-In Gallery. If you would like to loan or purchase a piece of Outsider Art do call Arts Access Aotearoa on 04 8024349 or email with OIG in the subject line


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