This site now acts as an archive only. For the latest news, opinion, blogs and listings on disability arts and culture visit

Disability Arts Online

> > > Profile: Jasna Nikolic talks about her Outside In show Eterniments at Pallant House
close up of face in a painting surrounded by ribbon-like threads of words

Detail view, Mode of Being by Jasna Nikolic © the artist

In August 2009, Pallant House Gallery in Chichester played host to Outside In, the groundbreaking competition for outsider and marginalised artists held across the south of England.

Jasna Nikolic is one of the six award winners selected to hold a solo show in the studio at Pallant House Gallery. Here, she talks about her work and influences.

“During my 20 years experience as an artist, many people in France and here in the UK have told me that my art is very close to Art Brut or Outsider Art.

Personally, I like Naive Art, Folk Art and Outsider Art a lot. Also, I find inspiration in Medieval Art in particular and art of ancient civilisations like Mesopotamia, Knossos, and the Far East.

I am an iconographer as well and I find that this experience is present in my artwork. I feel in Art Brut an area that is home.

Trying to express my deepest inner personality – my true self, I needed to break many rules and accepted methods that I learned during my art studies.

I analyse and evaluate my work only when it is done. During an art process I just act, trying to avoid my rational side becoming an obstacle. I am struggling to stay free.

Artwork that is composed of illustrations of animal faces - owls and cats predominate

Owls and Roses, by Jasna Nikolic. © the artist

For me, inspiration is a visit of a Holy Spirit, and any talent or gift is a present from God. Playfulness helps a lot, and I try to stay in a child-like state of spirit. It might be one of the reasons why I like watercolour, mono-print, collage and all other Surrealistic methods, including humour.

I was a professional artist for many years, but during my life journey, I have been through some traumatic experiences. I can’t cope with a stress of everyday life successfully.

I am fascinated with the fact that we are mortal. Rationally, we all know that, but after several experiences of illness that brought me very close to death and War experiences in ex-Yugoslavia, I feel that my understanding is complete.

I find that I am outsider in society. However, I don’t like my post-war syndrome to be publicly mentioned, because I feel ashamed if I remember all other people from ex-Yugoslavia region that are suffering in many different ways from the consequences of War.

This exhibition is very important to me. I feel that I am finally in the right venue. I like Outsider Art and like to be associated with it."

Read more about Jasna on her website

More about Eterniments

Dates: 30 March - 25 April 2010
Venue: Pallant House Gallery, 9 North Pallant, Chichester, West Sussex PO19 1TJ
Entry to Jasna's exhibition is free
Opening Times: Tuesday-Saturday 10am-5pm, Thursday 10am-8pm, Sunday/Bank Holidays 12.30-5pm. Monday closed
Telephone: 01273 774 447 / 0773 556 8531