Harbinger Consultants

Culture + Complexity + Change

COLLECT | Outsider Art

With the recent Art from the Margins exhibition, Harbinger Consultants has decided to formalise our commitment to Outsider Art. Having been informally collecting Outsider Art over the past few years through our involvements with a range of organisations, projects and groups, we realised that we had, in fact, started a modest collection. For several years, John was a member of the Access Arts Board, has also supported the Art from the Margins project as a judge and will be joining the Steering Committee of Art from the Margins. We’ve also had the pleasure of working with Ross Barber, an artist, curator and arts manager who is a great advocate of creating opportunities for people with disability and mental illness through his own work with Access Arts, Art from the Margins and other networks.

According to Colin Rhodes, an internationally regarded scholar and curator of Outsider Art, who established the Self-Taught and Outsider Art Research Collection (STOARC) at Sydney College of the Arts, the Visual Arts Faculty of the University of Sydney:

[Outsider Art] is produced by people in some way excluded from the mainstream art world. The field is made up of a mixture of socially and culturally marginal figures who embrace or inhabit unconventional or eccentric worldviews. They sometimes embody cultural positions that seem ‘other’ to prevailing social norms, and often (though by no means always) live with diagnosed mental health conditions.

The work we have collected over the years has been produced in diverse contexts and conditions including art workshops and programs for people experiencing disability and mental illness, such as the Brisbane Outsider Artists Studio. We’re aware that disability and mental health support programs are increasingly initiating art programs and spaces, and there are collections of Art Brut yet there are no programs of the scale of Luxembourg’s Cooperations. One of the better explanatory texts we’ve read is online at Outsider Artworld.

We believe that, even as a small business, cultivating a collection of Outsider Art is a way of developing shared value, realising our mission, and contributing to the community in an unexpected way. We’d also like to see greater recognition of Outsider Art and artists in Australia and hope to draw attention to this strangely attractive and compelling work which is drawn from the experiences of otherness, marginalisation and subjectivity of the artists. Please keep an eye on our website for additional resources about Outsider Art and information about our collection.


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