Souzou: Outsider Art From Japan @ Wellcome Collection

This is a sponsored post in partnership with Wellcome Collection.

The Japanese word ‘Souzou’ has two meanings depending on the way in which it is written. Written one way, it means creation and written the other way, it means imagination. There is no direct translation in English, but both creativity and imagination are strong presences in this truly unique spring exhibition at the Wellcome Collection.

Visitors can enjoy a diverse collection comprising of ceramics, textiles, paintings, sculpture and drawings, but what forms the beating heart of the exhibition is that the 300+ works have been created by 46 artists who are all residents and day attendees at social welfare institutes across Japan.

It is the UK’s first major display of Japanese Outsider Art, often defined as works created by self-taught artists perceived to be at the margins of mainstream society. The show takes an object-led approach and comprises a startling array of works offering explorations of culture, memory and creativity.

It is an exhibition that rewards not only the creativity of the artists but also of the visitors, as the works can be viewed not just as installations but social commentaries that encourage viewers to explore the processes of making, meaning and the larger social context of Outsider Art.

Souzou: Outsider Art from Japan runs until 30 June at Wellcome Collection, 183 Euston Road, NW1 2BE. Admission is free.

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