Jason Oliver is a queer, neurodivergent, anarchist (in the political sense of the word) artist living in a very rural, conservative area of Highland Scotland. He is formally trained as a printmaker but has found access to gallery culture a huge struggle due to the pressures to understand and negotiate social interactions within such environments, due to the experience of living with ASD and associated mental health issues such as severe anxiety. Through a variety of media, he explores the notion of ‘nationhood’ and its shifting boundaries, and the role of ‘other-ness’ in society. He is interested in visual storytelling that undermines authority and challenges it to justify its legitimacy, and he values surreal play, random gifts of kindness and other radical tools as a way of questioning and breaking down societal conditioning about what the future might look like.
The Future’s Venture funding will initiate a process called ‘You’re On Mute’. This process will seek to engage and collaborate with politically engaged artists who live in the Highlands and Islands who feel marginalised and are experiencing social, economic or emotional poverty; to connect, share, listen and generate work based on our experiences, to reconnect to the landscape and each other and to celebrate protest, gift giving, resistance to perceived or actual hierarchies and to formulate an honest picture of Highland Scottish life as we move through, and come out of, COVID isolation.