Our new book This|ability: Canadian Art Brut and Outsider Art

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Book Launch Saturday November 12, 1-3pm

image of red cover of book with a black line in the middle of the book from top to bottom separating the title This|ability

We are delighted to invite you to our book launch, “Thislability: Canadian Art Brut and Outsider Art” which will take place Saturday, November 12, 1-3 pm at the Creative Spirit Art Centre and invited to explore our exhibition of art from the Creative Spirit permanent collection to mark the launch of our new book will run from: October 11 - November 12, 2016.

This is the first Canadian publication on Canadian art brut and Outsider art. The book is a dream project of Ayako Ellen Anderson; founder of the Creative Spirit Art Centre and mother of Takashi Gabe Anderson, an artist who lives with cerebral palsy, developmental disabilities, seizures and metal health issues. 

In 1992 , Creative Spirit Art Centre started the only Canadian collection focused on Canadian Art Brut and Outsider Art. C.S.A.C. is dedicated  to “Advancing the creative power in artists with disabilities”;  through a public art gallery collection; exhibitions;  studio; resource and information centre; conferences; and festivals.

The works are from artists who create because it is their life. Art is often the only way they can share their visions.   

These artists live(d) with both visible and invisible disabilities. They found no one to champion them or invite them into the mainstream of public art gallery collections until the founding of Creative Spirit Art Centre.

Art Brut has remained an unacknowledged fine art category in Canada. Art brut has an  international audience and is part of the largest growth sector in retail art galleries in the U.S.A. and in international collections in the U.S.A., France, Japan, England and Switzerland. The term Art brut was created by the artist Jean Dubuffet who collected art by artists who were outside of the academic tradition. His famous collection is housed at the Musée de l’art brut, in Lausanne, Switzerland.

Mendelson Joe’s letter about Art brut is included in the book. Mendelson Joe is himself, an unsung Art Brut hero. His portraits of Canadian artists, poets, musicians and politicians deserve to be in a national public art gallery collection.

Two important Canadian art brut and outsider artists; William Kurelek and Christiana Pflug are included in the AGO collection but neither are referred to by those categories. They are not are included in this book nor is Scottie Wilson. Art historians write of Scottie Wilson as a Canadian Art Brut artist but he was born 1890 in Scotland and about 1931 he spent  time in Toronto and then Vancouver. He returned to Britain in 1945 where he gained recognition in London, Paris and Basel.

Jean Basquiat was an American Art brut artist. He had a major exhibition at the AGO. 

We hope that this book will serve to educate Canadian art historians, art collectors, art teachers and artists on the valuable contribution of Art Brut and Outsider artists in Canada.

The art is about giving voice to the voiceless and to those most often left on the lowest rungs of the socio-economic ladder – people living with long term disabilities. 

The twenty artists in the book are:

B. A. Anon., Gabe Anderson, Meiko Ando, Gilles Arseneault, Maruja Bonilla, Glen Cooper, Kristine Erglis, Albert Hall, Jeff Halliday, Alan Hooks, Orhan Guven, Glen James, Marc La bonté, Joan Lamantia, Alex Lazar, Catherine Little, Paul Sadgrove, Peter Smith, Jai Wax, Barry Woo .

We gratefully acknowledge the Canada Council for the Arts;  and Tak Yamasaki Limited; for grants which have made this book possible.

We thank the contributions of Writers: Mendelson Joe, Ellen Anderson, Gavin Barrett 

Editors: Lesley Kenny, Gavin Barrett        
Photographer: Richard Picton    
Design Agency: Barrett and Welsh
Art Director/Graphic Designer/Typographer: Bhupesh Luther                    
Production Artist: Deb Cochrane
Web Designer/management: Noman Siddiqui

This book honours all the artists who regardless of living with a long term a medical diagnosis; have the courage, the desire and will to make art which does not conform to the academic definitions of ART.

We look forward to sharing and seeing you!

Ayako Ellen Anderson
Mother, Dreamer, Artist, Executive Director
Creative Spirit Art Centre