Outside In: Journeys Through Art

Launch Slideshow

Since it was founded over a decade ago, award-winning charity Outside In has worked to provide a platform for artists who find it difficult to access the art world – whether these barriers were due to health, disability, social circumstances or isolation. In January, Sotheby's galleries in New Bond Street will tell the story of the journey taken by Outside In so far and the dynamic roster of artists who have led the way. Throughout its eleven-year journey, the objective of Outside In has remained the creation of a fairer art world – rejecting traditional values and institutional judgements about whose artworks can and should be displayed. Click through to see highlights from the exhibition. 

Outside In: Journeys
11-19 January 2018 | London

Outside In: Journeys Through Art

  • mark heathcote
    Aradne, The Gathering, machine embroidery, 2015.
    Aradne considers her work as drawings in stitch, using machine embroidery techniques to create figures, birds, insects, flowers and text that come together in reticulate structures. She always stitches automatically straight onto the fabric, without drawing them first, with the images stemming from her childhood and the world of her imagination. These ideas are then experimented on and developed so that the piece is forever changing, until Aradne is satisfied that the message she wishes to convey is communicated.


    "The Gathering is a secret meeting of unearthly creatures in an alternative world that exists in my imagination, which I hope conveys my love of dark myths and fairy tales. It is also a reflection of my unique childhood in Africa" – Aradne. 

  • James Lake, Running Figure, cardboard, 2012.
    "The running track doesn't have an end point. "What's next" was at the back of my mind when I was making it". Creating large-scale cardboard and paper sculptures, James Lake's medium of choice blurs the boundary between high and low art – which he believes makes his artwork more accessible. His sculptures are based on the themes of humanity, strength, and vulnerability.

    This impressive and graceful figure of a runner about to take off is an original commission for the Gold Run, an Arts Council funded project celebrating the London 2012 Paralympic Games comprising of the first learning-disabled led opera and art project. The artwork made for Gold Run explored the reintroduction of learning-disabled athletes into the Paralympic games after a twelve-year ban.  

  • Manuel Bonifacio, Motorbike and Man, colouring pencil on paper, 2012.
    Born in December 1947 near Lisbon, Portugal, Manuel Lança Bonifacio’s learning difficulties led to his dropping out of the formal educational system at the age of eight. Instead, he turned to artmaking, and developed a passion for drawing and ceramics, a passion that has persisted to the present day and one that allows him to expose his unique view of the world. Manuel joined the fire brigade as a volunteer at a young age. His life's ambition was to be in the army, and many of his works reflect this passion for army transportation; depicting helicopters, aeroplanes, motorbikes and boats.


    Manuel has shown his work at the Outside Art Fair in Paris and the Outsider Art Fair in New York, with pieces acquired by numerous private collections. He makes much of his work at ArtVenture, a creative day centre in Guildford.

  • mark heathcote
    Michelle Roberts, Crufts Dog Show, brush pen on canvas, 2015.
    Michelle Roberts has drawn and painted throughout her life. As a young girl, she accompanied her grandfather, a landscape painter, creating artworks outdoors. Carrying around a sketch book at all times, Michelle has refined a dense and highly personalized approach to image making. Working methodically across each canvas, section by section, she creates colourful and complex worlds that each have a distinct logic and meaning.


    Focussed one-to-one attention has enabled her to communicate detailed narratives about these worlds and how they connect to her own life. Volunteering in a charity shop and assisting in a nursery, many of the people and experiences Michelle encounters are directly translated into her work. Michelle began working with Project Art Works in 2005 and since joining Mentoring Studios in 2009.

  • Nigel Kingsbury, Woman, pencil on paper, 2011.
    A prolific artist, Nigel Kingsbury spent over ten years as a resident artist with London based charity ActionSpace, who support artists with learning disabilities. Having sadly passed away in 2016, Nigel has left a lasting legacy of artworks depicting his main inspiration – the female form – idolising the figure in a unique and carefully observed manner.


    He created delicate portraits of women, depicting them as mystical goddesses with heaving bosoms, attired in glamorous ball gowns and floating dresses. Nigel's drawings have a mysterious quality that transcend time, each carrying the dedication "Loves Nigel" or "Nigel Loves" followed by an abundance of kisses.

  • Rakibul Chowdhury, Ophelia after painting by Millais, acrylic and watercolour on paper, 2017.
    Rakibul Chowdhury's work explores the relationship between everyday life and popular culture, incorporating images of pop stars, movie legends, fashion icons and beloved cartoons. This piece is based on pre-Raphaelite artist John Everett Millais' classic depiction of Shakespeare's Ophelia, yet unlike the original, this Ophelia is surrounded by celebrities holding the gaze of the viewer. 


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