Prisoners Painting a Brighter Future

Prisoners from across the state have begun displaying their artwork publically as part of the innovative Art by Prisoners exhibition.

This year’s exhibition, organised by UniSA’s Bob Hawke Ministerial Centre in partnership with the Department for Correctional Services, is held as part of the 2019 South Australian Living Artists (SALA) Festival.

Art by Prisoners has run annually since 2012 and features the largest collection of artwork from the prison system to be displayed in South Australia.

The initiative, which opened last night, gives prisoners from all institutions within South Australia the opportunity to create art and submit it to be awarded by professional artists and curators.

Over 70 entries were received this year featuring a diverse range of artwork which includes acrylic paint on canvas, pencil sketches, soap sculptures, miniature metal motorbikes and applique.

The public are invited to engage with the artists behind the exhibition by voting and leaving comments which will be forwarded on to the participating prisoners.

The Art by Prisoners exhibition has the ongoing support of the Commissioner for Victim’s Rights.

Prisoners will not be identified, and all artworks have been reviewed and approved for public display by the DCS Victim Services Unit in regard to impact on victims and the community.

Minister for Police, Emergency Services and Correctional Services, Corey Wingard, said producing art in prisons has a number of benefits and has for a long time been identified as a significant contributor in prisoner rehabilitation.

“Prisoner art helps with self-esteem and morale. It encourages new ways of looking at the world and new ways of expression and community, which has positive flow-on effects to society in general by contributing to improved post-release outcomes”, said Minister Wingard.

Chief Executive of Department for Correctional Services, David Brown, said producing art in prisons is a way that prisoners can build resilience, maintain strength and express gratitude.

“Art by Prisoners helps create a space for inclusion, social connection and hope for the future. The exhibition gives the public a unique insight into the lives of prisoners and the issues many must face and grapple with each day,” said David Brown.

Art by Prisoners will be on display at UniSA’s Kerry Packer Civic Gallery from 1-30 August 2019.

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