Inmate artists leave their mark on Sydney courthouse

Inmates from prisons in Sydney’s east, Hunter and Central West regions will have their art showcased in the gallery of one of Sydney’s busiest court complexes.

A collection of 50 artworks will be exhibited from today until Tuesday 30 March as part of a collaboration between Long Bay’s Boom Gate Gallery and the Downing Centre.

Gallery curator Damian Moss said the inmates gain a sense of pride knowing their creative pieces will be seen by thousands of people.

“Some inmates struggle while incarcerated but art can save their mental health, providing a calming effect, purpose and an opportunity to learn new skills,” Mr Moss said.

“Selling their artwork can also bring about financial independence and allows them to contribute to their families’ lives while they’re in custody, which are all positives to assist with their successful reintegration upon release.”

The Inside Out exhibition includes a range of painting styles with many pieces featuring prison imagery or places the inmates look forward to visiting.

Corrective Services NSW Deputy Commissioner Luke Grant said the inmate artists sharing their work are from Long Bay, Hunter and Macquarie correctional centres.

“When locked in at night, making art can be a constructive use of time and also provide a safe and positive way for dealing with problematic feelings and emotions like depression and anger,” Mr Grant said.

“Some inmates have never produced art prior to coming into prison while others have the opportunity to reskill.”

The Boom Gate Gallery has been selling works by inmates since 1992.

Inmates receive 75 per cent of their artwork’s sale price, which they can use towards purchasing their next canvas or other art tools. The rest of the sale price goes towards operational costs and a percentage is paid to the victims’ compensation scheme.

Inside Out art exhibition

Downing Centre, ground floor, 143-147 Liverpool Street, Central Sydney

Friday 5 March – Tuesday 30 March

Boom Gate Gallery

Long Bay Correctional Complex

1300 Anzac Parade, Malabar

Open Thursday-Sunday, 9am-3pm

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