PRESS RELEASE (Download PDF version here)

Neither Use Nor Ornament – OVADA Oxford 2019
A pioneering exhibition with diversity at its heart.

Neither Use Nor Ornament (NUNO) is an exhibition that explores the way that we use everyday objects – like bottles, handbags and wool – to store our memories. By keeping collections of precious things, we create histories of love and loss, happiness and grief.

NUNO brings together two networks of professional artists – one of which identifies as ‘neurodivergent’ (ND), and the other which doesn’t – on an equal platform. The term ND includes autism, dyslexia, dyscalculia, and ADHD.

Oxford based artist, Sonia Boué, created the NUNO concept after receiving an autism diagnosis in 2016, and working to help other ND artists break through some of the barriers they face by creating a supportive network and mentoring group called WEBworks. 

“After my autism diagnosis I began to find I had two networks, those artist I knew beforehand, and those I got to know through blogging about my ND and my art practice at The Other Side (

This exhibition is both ambitious and unique, because although in this case it’s an autistic person leading the project, and behind the scenes (in some cases) a great deal of enabling work has been done, the show is not about autism. When you visit NUNO we want you to be moved and entertained by the quality of the art on show. Our invitation is to view exceptional work across the board.” 

The fourteen artists in NUNO use a wide range of techniques, including live performance, installation, video, sound, textiles, photography, sculpture, assemblage, and the written word. By offering an intimate glimpse of their lives, they invite us to delve into our own personal histories, from the memories that we enjoy, to the darker experiences of trauma and loss. But their pieces draw on wider meanings too: the personal becomes the political, offering commentary on social change; and family pasts point us to the broad sweep of history, in which people are displaced by powers beyond their control.  

Some of the work is playful and encourages you to join in; other pieces allow you to stand back and reflect. NUNO shows how the things we own can transform us, and how an artist’s hand and eye can transform those objects all over again.    

NUNO takes place in the characterful warehouse space of OVADA, under which roof these two very different networks of artists become one, sharing ideas, and influences, and allowing the viewer to experience exciting and diverse ways of interpreting the world around us. 
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The NUNO exhibition runs from 30 March to 28 April 2019 at OVADA, 14a Osney Lane, Oxford OX1 1NJ.  It is funded by Arts Council England and Oxford City Council Culture Fund, and presented in partnership with OVADA. 

Additional information:                                                                      

Register for all our events at

OVADA opens Thursday – Sunday 12-6pm

Easter opening: 12-6pm April 20, and 12-4pm April 21st 

Additional events: 

Artist panel and tour 20 April 2-4pm: FREE

Instagram @nuno_project (follow our artists’ stories campaign)

Twitter @NUNOProject