kingsbury beckyAn artist with learning disabilities has won the prize of a solo show of his work at a London galley in November.

Nigel Kingsbury was one of seven artists selected to exhibit their artwork at The Inner Self: Drawings from the Subconscious show, which was held at CGP London in September. Of those, Kingsbury was selected for the coveted prize of a solo show – to be titled ‘Nigel Loves’ – at the Julian Hartnoll Gallery in London by curator Vivienne Roberts.

Kingsbury has been a key member of London-based Action Space, a visual arts organisation that supports the development of artists with learning disabilities, for nearly 10 years. He has exhibited widely as part of the group and has previously been selected for Studio Voltaire’s prestigious Member’s Show on 3 occasions.

His portraits depict women as mystical goddesses attired in glamorous ball gowns, decadent outfits and floating dresses. Kingsbury sometimes draws from memory, other times those in close proximity, but always women he likes and is inspired by. If he is fond of the woman he is drawing, he will place hearts and kisses around his signature, and for a special few, will sign the piece ‘Love(s) Nigel’ or ‘Nigel Loves’ – hence the title of the exhibition. 

Kingsbury, now 65, draws most days and has produced images of women since his 20s. During his time spent in a hospital for people with learning disabilities, he was inspired by the nurses and when at home he would source images by recording TV programmes and freeze framing selected women to sketch.

This fascination with the female form inspires Kingsbury to create drawings with a frequently mysterious and eerie quality, while remaining far removed from contemporary issues of gender stereotyping. 

Action Space’s artist tutor, Charlotte Hollinshead, said: “Nigel is a true and dedicated artist with an absolute passion for his art. The love and care Nigel invests in his drawing is apparent in every pencil line. His drawing is unpredictable and it is always a wonder watching as each of his carefully sketched figures develops. It is a privilege to work alongside such a talented, sensitive and unique man.” 

Nigel Loves is on at the Julian Hartnoll Gallery, 37 Duke St, St James’s, London, SW1Y 6DF from November 17-22. The gallery is open Monday-Friday 10am-5pm and Saturday 11am-5pm or by appointment. Admission is free.