Based at Cockpit Studios in Holborn, ActionSpace puts on a show during the twice-yearly open studios.The work exhibited is overwhelmingly joyful and exuberant yet I had never stopped to find out more as the people there were already busy with other visitors. I didn’t talk to anyone this time either but at least managed to pick up a postcard of Nnena Kalu painting a sumptuously coloured wall.ActionSpace supports the development of artists with learning difficulties in a professional studio environment and creates innovative visual arts projects for people with learning disabilities across London.
They hold regular workshops and also exhibit widely, including overseas. I’m not very comfortable with labels; this work comes under the umbrella category of Outsider Art, a catch-all term coined by art critic Roger Cardinal in the early 1970s to include anything by anyone outside the traditional art establishment. To be honest, that actually means the vast majority of people, including some professional artists.
Whatever it’s called, the work produced is often powerful and always life-affirming.