This|ability – Canadian Art Brut and Outsider Art is a luminous work of art, type and poetry, focusing on the talent of disabled artists, not their disabilities. It is a book that sets out to increase our appreciation for Canada’s remarkable Art Brut and Outsider Art artists and their work. Though Art Brut has enjoyed tremendous growth in the international art world for 30 years now, there has never been a book on Canadian Art Brut and Outsider Art. This vacuum prompted Ayako Ellen Anderson, activist-founder of the nonprofit Creative Spirit Art Centre, to commission Gavin Barrett and Barrett and Welsh to create This|ability, the first book on Canadian Art Brut and Outsider Art ever written, designed and printed in Canada.
Respecting artists with disabilities requires that we respect their challenges and, simultaneously, their genius. As artist Gilles Arsenault says, “My body may be disabled but my art isn’t”. This|ability illuminates the raw, vibrant art of these artists and celebrates their abilities rather than viewing them through the distorted lens of their disabilities. Brut Truths — type-and-poetry collaborations between Bhupesh Luther and Gavin Barrett punctuate the book — were specially created to honour the unique artistic reality of these artists. Recognizing its contribution to arts, ability and accessibility, This|ability has been accepted into the National Library of Canada.
Curator: Ellen Anderson, Writers: Mendelson Joe, Ellen Anderson, Gavin Barrett
Editors: Lesley Kenny, Gavin Barrett
Photographer: Richard Picton
Design Agency: Barrett and Welsh
Creative Director: Gavin Barrett
Art Director/Graphic Designer/Typographer: Bhupesh Luther
Production Artist: Deb Cochrane
66 colour pages, featuring 20 Creative Spirit artists, softcover, 29cm x 23cm. (Creative Spirit Art Centre 2016)