'Outsider Art' constitutes an internationally recognized category of self-taught or naive art and often refers to a mode of original artistic expression which thrives on its independence, shunning the public sphere and the art market. As Roger Cardinal explains "Outsider Art is an art of unexpected and often bewildering distinctiveness, and its outstanding exemplars tend to conjure up imagined private worlds, completely satisfying to their creator yet so remote from our normal experience as to appear alien and rebarbative. The art practice brings out an expressive intentionality that is worthy of viewing as a new aesthetic experience conjured up in the sweep of imagery of an individual creator. Provided we as viewers can entertain the fantasy of traveling into that world, we are in a position to savor the extreme experience of otherness, in the form of a seductive exoticism that produces an inarticulate yet intense pleasure."
At Sense Kaleidoscopes, the first Art School for Autism in India, we work with many outsider artists who will astound you. Each one has immense potential and what we specialize in is creating original work produced by autistic artists whose expressions convey a strong sense of individuality. Not all autistic persons can be Outsiders, but those who merit inclusion in the latter category will exercise the same fascination and stimulate the same level of excitement in the responsive viewer. And we know that autistic art can exercise a magnetism which transcends the simple communication of an appearance or an idea. So, at the school, we work with the narrow interests of the artists and help them build the necessary exposure so they can express themselves without feeling frustrated or locked. Our aim is to create opportunities that can help us engage with the dynamic thrust of mental systems unlike our own, in an effort to participate in that alien enthusiasm. For example, an Asperger's self-engrossed pleasure in their own mastery can become our secondary pleasure as witnesses thereof, and encourage us to attempt further acts of empathetic response. And as Cardinal concludes, we also believe that these should lead us beyond selfish indulgence, for in due course we will find that aesthetic pleasure has begun to coincide with our poignant engagement with another sensibility, another personality; at which point art appreciation is revealed not as a peripheral supplement to human experience but as a privileged medium of human contact itself.