Tyne & Wear

Prison art highlighted in Gateshead exhibition

African sunset from HMP Northumberland
Image caption African sunset from HMP Northumberland
Double Bowie by Northgate Hospital patient
Image caption Double Bowie from Northgate Hospital
Locked In by St Nicholas Hospital patient
Image caption Locked In from St Nicholas Hospital
Acrylic by HMP Frankland
Image caption Acrylic from HMP Frankland
Age of steam, by HMP Durham prisoner
Image caption Age of Steam from Durham Prison

More than 100 artworks from prisons, secure hospitals and secure children's homes across the North East are to be displayed in an exhibition.

They were among 300 entries for this year's Koestler Awards, which promotes art in the criminal justice system.

The project, called Reflections, is being staged at the Baltic Centre for Contemporary Art in Gateshead.

The exhibition has been curated by teenagers from the Gateshead Behaviour Support Service.

Image caption Britannia Riots from HMP Frankland

The work includes drawings and paintings from Durham Prison, HMP Northumberland at Morpeth, Frankland Prison and Low Newton Prison and Young Offenders Institution in Durham, Northgate Hospital in Morpeth, and St Nicholas Hospital in Gosforth.

Gateshead Behaviour Support Service's head teacher, Steve Siddell, said: "The young people involved in curating this exhibition have all had some difficulties in the past and working with artists and helping decide what went in the exhibition has helped build their self-esteem and confidence.

"The children knew they were part of something important, one even said it was the best experience of their life.

"They were a little daunted at first but it's had a huge effect on them, and they all ended up walking a little taller."

Tim Robertson, chief executive of organiser the Koestler Trust, said: "The exhibition is a chance for people to see some of the high quality art, craft and creative writing being produced within the region's prison and secure systems."

Ilaria Longhi, community programmer at the Baltic, said: "This has been a fantastic opportunity to work with young curators, who threw themselves into learning new skills and the end result is a credit to their hard work."

The free exhibition, at both the Baltic and The Gallery at Gateshead Library, opens on 19 October and runs until 1 December.

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