Japanese ‘Outsiders’ stage art exhibit in London

Kyodo

An exhibition opening in London on Thursday features works by Japanese artists suffering from a variety of mental illnesses and behavioral disorders.

“Souzou: Outsider Art from Japan” is a display of more than 300 works by 46 artists who attend specialist care institutions.

The exhibition of ceramics, textiles, paintings, sculptures and drawings is being staged at the Wellcome Collection, a gallery that explores connections between medicine, life and art in the past, present and future.

The show contains many unusual pieces, including a display of miniature action figures created by intricately weaving twist ties.

Other striking pieces include Sakiko Kono’s dolls that represent friends and care helpers in the facility where she resides.

This is the fourth major exhibition of “Outsider Art” from Japan in Europe since 2008. The artists come from 13 prefectures, with a large proportion hailing from Shiga, which has been at the forefront of using art as therapy.

“We are delighted to be staging the first substantial exhibition of Japanese ‘Outsider Art’ in the United Kingdom,” curator Shamita Sharmacharja said.