ThisAbility: A book on Canadian Art Brut and Outsider Art

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  • This|ability 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 Barrett and Welsh to create This|ability, which is the first book on Canadian Art Brut and Outsider Art ever written, designed and printed in Canada. ThisAbility.

    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 reflections that punctuate the book — were specially created by the agency to honour the unique artistic reality of these artists. Recognising its contribution to arts, ability and accessibility, This|ability has been accepted into the National Library of Canada.