20 September 2012
Last updated at 02:34
Art by prisoners has gone on show at the Southbank Centre in London as part of an exhibition to mark the 50th anniversary of prison arts charity the Koestler Trust. The exhibition has been curated by artist Sarah Lucas, who chose 200 works from more than 8,000 that were submitted. Images courtesy of the Koestler Trust.
Koestler Trust chief executive Tim Robertson said art activities aided the rehabilitation of offenders, secure patients and detainees by giving them practical skills as well as emotional and spiritual development. The exhibition also challenged stereotypes about offenders, he added.
Queen of the Night was made by an inmate at HMP Wakefield. The artists and their offences have not been revealed, but Mr Robertson said prisons would not allow inmates to submit their works "if they felt it was not appropriate".
Mr Robertson rejected the suggestion that the exhibition and accompanying awards glorified criminals, saying that taking part in art activities made offenders less likely to reoffend. "Often, winning a Koestler Award is the first time that they have got recognition for something positive that they’ve done," he said.
The Trust has given awards at various levels in various disciplines, from painting to poetry and pottery, to around 2,000 creations. This example, Two Heads Better Than One, made by a patient at Ashworth high security hospital, received a platinum award for pottery or sculpture.
The Trust is also hosting a special day for victims of crime to visit the exhibition. A previous exhibition was curated by a group of people who had been victims. Mr Robertson said: "Their experience was that it helped them come to terms with the crime and to be able to start to see offenders’ own views of the world and to recognise that offenders, for all that they’ve done wrong and clearly they need to change and not do that again, that they are human beings."
This image, titled On the Landing, was made at HMP Whatton in Nottinghamshire. The exhibition is free and runs until 25 November.