Outside In’s ‘Humanity’ is part of Artists Open Houses this winter

Christopher Catto – The Beach

Award-winning charity Outside In’s national open exhibition, which features 80 artworks on the theme of ‘humanity’, opens at Hove Museum of Creativity on 25th November 2023 and runs until 21st January 2024, as part of Artists Open Houses this winter.  This represents the final leg of a national tour for Humanity, which initially opened at Sotheby’s Old Bond Street in January 2023 before touring to Project Ability in Glasgow during the summer. 

Humanity is the sixth National Open exhibition organised by the charity, which was established in 2006 to assist artists encountering significant barriers due to health, disability, social circumstance or isolation. The national call-out attracted a record number of entries by 500 artists and over half of the works on show are by artists who have never exhibited with Outside In before, many of whom have previously never exhibited at all. Images of all submitted work will also be shown alongside the 80 selected pieces. 

This year, shortlisted works were judged at the Sotheby’s show by artist Bob and Roberta Smith, following in the footsteps of previous judges including Sir Grayson Perry and Cathie Pilkington. ‘Old Bands’ by Michelle Roberts was awarded first prize of a solo exhibition in 2024.  ‘Ophelia’ by Gail Henderson and ‘RNLI Saves Refugees’ by Ian Barnes were selected as runners up.   

Michele Roberts – Old Bands 

There has never been a time in recent history where the theme of humanity has had such direct relevance to the world in which we are living. The challenges posed by environmental change, war, the global pandemic and the cost-of-living crisis have left us to consider what it is to be a human and how to behave humanely. Outside In artists have interpreted humanity from a wide variety of perspectives, both personal and global, and the work on show includes paintings and drawings, sculpture, ceramics, photography, film and performance pieces. 

Helen Grundy – The Anatomy of Rumination

Sussex is the birthplace of Outside In and numerous local artists have work included in the show – including first prize winner Michelle Roberts, who works with Project Art Works, a collective of neurodiverse artists and activists based in Hastings. Jiffy’s ‘Seeing Other People’ is about looking, communicating and sharing ideas whilst Sophie Valeix’s collaged print ‘Common Humanity’ is a reminder to be compassionate and shows the beauty and diversity of people, if we could only see them on the inside during depressive episodes. David Puttick’s mixed media piece reflects on how all humans can be good or bad, depending on conditioning and Helen Grundy’s collage ‘The Anatomy of Rumination’ sees an anatomical diagram of ear invaded by bathers, each representing a thought, and is a plea to slow down and break cycles of worry. Luc(e) Raesmith’s assemblage addresses society’s current obsession with celebrity and the selfie, whilst Sarah Harris’s digital photograph ‘Only Human’ is a lamentation on mortality and Samuel McGann’s plaintive ‘Deep In Thought’ is a reflection on the outbreak of war in Ukraine. A mixed media installation by Jessica Starns is entitled ‘Refrigerator Mothers’, a term coined by psychiatrist Leo Kanner in the 1950s which shockingly equated autism with a lack of maternal love. 

David Puttick – Mixed media

Outside In’s founder and Director, Marc Steene comments: “The learning and insight into the human condition that this exhibition provides is profound, all the more so for coming from artists not often given centre stage. It illustrates the incredible creativity and wisdom that is on offer if we look beyond the boundaries of convention.”

Sarah Harris- Only Human 

Hove Museum of Creativity, 19 New Church Road, Hove, BN3