naemi, “Outsider Art, unveiling hidden art masters”
The origins of NAEMI.
Founded in 1988, NAEMI emerges while Juan Martin, the Executive Director, worked providing counseling to mentally disabled persons at a community mental health center in Miami. After encouraging a client to paint as a way to escape his intense suffering, Martin remembers how he liked that artwork and realized at that moment that there were probably many other talented persons in psychiatric hospitals waiting to be discovered.
This first artist that Martin discovered never again picked up a paintbrush, erroneously deciding that he was not an artist. Yet, his extraordinary work remains a testimony of his error. These artists have a great need to express what is going on in their world regardless of the latest fashion trend in the mesmerizing world of contemporary art.
In the past 30 years, NAEMI has been a pioneer in this field of outsider art by developing various projects, conferences, workshops, and activities with experts in the visual arts, literary and mental health professions. NAEMI exhibitions have been annually shown in Miami and have circulated in various museums and art galleries throughout the United States, from New York to Washington D.C; In European Union in Spain, and in Belgium. In Latin America in Cuba, Chile, Argentina, Peru, Mexico, Bolivia, Paraguay, and Guatemala.
Due to the lack of publications concerning mentally ill artists – especially in the Spanish context – NAEMI has considered it very important to facilitate the publication of books and catalogs to get people familiar not only with the artists whose work is displayed in the collection but also with the idea and existence of this specific type of art. Also, these publications can be a reference for those who work in the field thanks to the articles written by experts in the field of mental health, education, and art as a source of information.