Art of Now: Outsiders (BBC Sounds)

Can anyone declare themselves an artist? David Tovey considers the so-called rules.

“Art saved my life”, says David Tovey. He experienced homelessness, homophobia, and despair so deep that he killed himself – twice – before being resuscitated. His ongoing recovery is intertwined with his stunning visual and textile work, which has been showcased at Tate Liverpool, Tate Modern and Gloucester Cathedral.

But will David ever stop being an outsider artist? Does the ex-homeless label hinder him, or does it serve him?

Can anyone declare themselves an artist? David considers the so-called rules as he wonders how open the established art world is to outsiders. He leads an uncompromising – and at times uncomfortable – discussion about activism, criticism, exploitation, entitlement, preconception and power.

Listen now on the BBC Website

Credits

Contributors include: Liv Wynter, artist, activist and writer Matt Peacock, artistic director, Streetwise Opera Tony Heaton, artist, sculptor and chair of Shape Arts The White Pube (Gabrielle de la Puente and Zarina Muhammad), critics and curators Sir Nicholas Serota, chair of Arts Council England

Producer: Steve Urquhart

A Boom Shakalaka production for BBC Radio 4

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