Let me know by next week Curated by Holly Aitchison
In early 2016, artist and educator at Dunedin’s Art Space studio Holly Aitchison invited six local artists to embark on a unique residency-style collaboration with the intention of presenting an exhibition at Blue Oyster in October.
Let me know by next week pairs Saskia Leek with painter and drawer Darryl Breen; emerging artist Ed Ritchie with poet and zine maker Heather Jarvis; and local textile artist Desi Liversage with Kellie Shaw. The aim of this project has been to provide a new opportunity for practicing artists to experience an alternative method of art making, and for Art Space artists to experience collaborative practices that are common among the local Dunedin artist community.
With the growing popularity of ‘outsider art’ as an established genre in the wider art world, Aotearoa has seen the rise of artists such as Susan Te Kahurangi King and Martin Thompson alongside international artists such as Henry Darger, Louis Wain and Judith Scott. While this term is often co-opted by artists looking to reject high culture or move outside of the gallery system, the term has always been seen as a way to label those makers the margins of society, thus becoming somewhat institutional by default. Today, outsider art is very much at the centre of the art market, which tends to perpetuate social barriers rather than break them down.
In an effort to develop a new, inclusive method for artistic experimentation at a local level, the exhibition Let me know by next week presents the results of the first formal opportunity both Art Space and Blue Oyster are aware of that has created space over a period of time for able and disabled artists to make either new works together or individual works produced side by side.
Run by IDEA Services, Art Space was created in 2008 to provide a daytime studio space focused solely on art for adults with intellectual disabilities. Since this time the clientele and the studio have evolved into a space for self-directed art practice.
In 2013, Art Space collaborated with Caroline Plummer Fellow Hahna Briggs to create a contemporary dance performance group that has continued to operate in Dunedin. It is Aitchison’s hope that through collaboration the work of these artists, which goes largely unseen outside of the disability sector, can become more visible at a local level with more opportunities for similar partnerships in the future.