30/11/2021
Reviews
Adam Wells
The I and the We: Koestler Arts at Southbank Centre
A look at the works of this year's Koestler Awards, as presented at Southbank Centre

Established in 1962, The Koestler Awards acknowledge the artistic work of prisoners, secure hospital patients, and immigration detainees throughout the UK, with the aim of opening new horizons and opportunities for marginalised members of society. This year’s exhibition, currently showing at London’s Southbank Centre and curated by artist Camille Walala and her sister Sarah Ihler-Meyer, received over 2,500 entries in various mediums from writing to woodworking, all based around the theme of ‘togetherness’.

Who is the Imposter?, HM Prison Long Lartin, Painting, 2021

A common property of the works on display is their construction from whatever materials are available, with sculptures made of stockpiled soap melted on radiators, intricate models made from matchsticks, and a collection of colourful birds constructed out of toilet paper. Also notable is the sheer amount of time which has been spent on some of the pieces; one model entitled Lumberjack Park took nineteen months to complete, with the artist continuing to build until it could no longer fit in his cell. While excellent, pieces such as Lumberjack Park serve as stark reminders of the prison system’s handling of the COVID-19 pandemic, with inmates spending 23 hours per day in their cells.

Lumberjack Park, HM Prison Isle of Wight (Albany), 2021

Other works address this theme explicitly; a piece by a prisoner at HM Prison Haverigg entitled Kept Together portrays the monotony of this existence in the form of a repetitive life cycle. Indeed, given its prominence over the last year, it’s no surprise that Covid and lockdowns serve as common motifs throughout this year’s exhibition, with paintings such as Those Who Care and Thanking Staff of NHS acknowledging those who have served as key workers throughout the pandemic, both in and outside of prison walls.

Kept Together, HM Prison Haverigg, 2021

Perhaps one of the most affecting areas of the exhibition comes with the collection of protest works, particularly those inspired by the Black Lives Matter movement and LGBTQ+ pride. With prison restricting active participation in social justice movements, these pieces serve as unique forms of protest and expression from those who are inherently disenfranchised.

The Haywain, HM Prison Dumfries, 2021

Such disenfranchisement - and protest against the prison system itself - is embodied in the landscapes on display, typically representing wide nature-filled vistas. These pieces, sometimes imaginary, sometimes based on real places, are consciously inspired by their artists’ claustrophobia, and work on their own as effective protests against the toughness of incarceration. With a sculpture of John Constable’s Haywain, a prisoner from HM Prison Dumfries evokes this desire for the outside world along with a representation of existing art, serving as a potent reminder of the legitimacy and power of artistic expression, no matter who or where it comes from.

Thanks for reading
Collect your 5 yamos below
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30/11/2021
Reviews
Adam Wells
The I and the We: Koestler Arts at Southbank Centre
A look at the works of this year's Koestler Awards, as presented at Southbank Centre

Established in 1962, The Koestler Awards acknowledge the artistic work of prisoners, secure hospital patients, and immigration detainees throughout the UK, with the aim of opening new horizons and opportunities for marginalised members of society. This year’s exhibition, currently showing at London’s Southbank Centre and curated by artist Camille Walala and her sister Sarah Ihler-Meyer, received over 2,500 entries in various mediums from writing to woodworking, all based around the theme of ‘togetherness’.

Who is the Imposter?, HM Prison Long Lartin, Painting, 2021

A common property of the works on display is their construction from whatever materials are available, with sculptures made of stockpiled soap melted on radiators, intricate models made from matchsticks, and a collection of colourful birds constructed out of toilet paper. Also notable is the sheer amount of time which has been spent on some of the pieces; one model entitled Lumberjack Park took nineteen months to complete, with the artist continuing to build until it could no longer fit in his cell. While excellent, pieces such as Lumberjack Park serve as stark reminders of the prison system’s handling of the COVID-19 pandemic, with inmates spending 23 hours per day in their cells.

Lumberjack Park, HM Prison Isle of Wight (Albany), 2021

Other works address this theme explicitly; a piece by a prisoner at HM Prison Haverigg entitled Kept Together portrays the monotony of this existence in the form of a repetitive life cycle. Indeed, given its prominence over the last year, it’s no surprise that Covid and lockdowns serve as common motifs throughout this year’s exhibition, with paintings such as Those Who Care and Thanking Staff of NHS acknowledging those who have served as key workers throughout the pandemic, both in and outside of prison walls.

Kept Together, HM Prison Haverigg, 2021

Perhaps one of the most affecting areas of the exhibition comes with the collection of protest works, particularly those inspired by the Black Lives Matter movement and LGBTQ+ pride. With prison restricting active participation in social justice movements, these pieces serve as unique forms of protest and expression from those who are inherently disenfranchised.

The Haywain, HM Prison Dumfries, 2021

Such disenfranchisement - and protest against the prison system itself - is embodied in the landscapes on display, typically representing wide nature-filled vistas. These pieces, sometimes imaginary, sometimes based on real places, are consciously inspired by their artists’ claustrophobia, and work on their own as effective protests against the toughness of incarceration. With a sculpture of John Constable’s Haywain, a prisoner from HM Prison Dumfries evokes this desire for the outside world along with a representation of existing art, serving as a potent reminder of the legitimacy and power of artistic expression, no matter who or where it comes from.

Thanks for reading
Collect your 5 yamos below
REDEEM YAMOS
30/11/2021
Reviews
Adam Wells
The I and the We: Koestler Arts at Southbank Centre
A look at the works of this year's Koestler Awards, as presented at Southbank Centre

Established in 1962, The Koestler Awards acknowledge the artistic work of prisoners, secure hospital patients, and immigration detainees throughout the UK, with the aim of opening new horizons and opportunities for marginalised members of society. This year’s exhibition, currently showing at London’s Southbank Centre and curated by artist Camille Walala and her sister Sarah Ihler-Meyer, received over 2,500 entries in various mediums from writing to woodworking, all based around the theme of ‘togetherness’.

Who is the Imposter?, HM Prison Long Lartin, Painting, 2021

A common property of the works on display is their construction from whatever materials are available, with sculptures made of stockpiled soap melted on radiators, intricate models made from matchsticks, and a collection of colourful birds constructed out of toilet paper. Also notable is the sheer amount of time which has been spent on some of the pieces; one model entitled Lumberjack Park took nineteen months to complete, with the artist continuing to build until it could no longer fit in his cell. While excellent, pieces such as Lumberjack Park serve as stark reminders of the prison system’s handling of the COVID-19 pandemic, with inmates spending 23 hours per day in their cells.

Lumberjack Park, HM Prison Isle of Wight (Albany), 2021

Other works address this theme explicitly; a piece by a prisoner at HM Prison Haverigg entitled Kept Together portrays the monotony of this existence in the form of a repetitive life cycle. Indeed, given its prominence over the last year, it’s no surprise that Covid and lockdowns serve as common motifs throughout this year’s exhibition, with paintings such as Those Who Care and Thanking Staff of NHS acknowledging those who have served as key workers throughout the pandemic, both in and outside of prison walls.

Kept Together, HM Prison Haverigg, 2021

Perhaps one of the most affecting areas of the exhibition comes with the collection of protest works, particularly those inspired by the Black Lives Matter movement and LGBTQ+ pride. With prison restricting active participation in social justice movements, these pieces serve as unique forms of protest and expression from those who are inherently disenfranchised.

The Haywain, HM Prison Dumfries, 2021

Such disenfranchisement - and protest against the prison system itself - is embodied in the landscapes on display, typically representing wide nature-filled vistas. These pieces, sometimes imaginary, sometimes based on real places, are consciously inspired by their artists’ claustrophobia, and work on their own as effective protests against the toughness of incarceration. With a sculpture of John Constable’s Haywain, a prisoner from HM Prison Dumfries evokes this desire for the outside world along with a representation of existing art, serving as a potent reminder of the legitimacy and power of artistic expression, no matter who or where it comes from.

Thanks for reading
Collect your 5 yamos below
REDEEM YAMOS
30/11/2021
Reviews
Adam Wells
The I and the We: Koestler Arts at Southbank Centre
A look at the works of this year's Koestler Awards, as presented at Southbank Centre

Established in 1962, The Koestler Awards acknowledge the artistic work of prisoners, secure hospital patients, and immigration detainees throughout the UK, with the aim of opening new horizons and opportunities for marginalised members of society. This year’s exhibition, currently showing at London’s Southbank Centre and curated by artist Camille Walala and her sister Sarah Ihler-Meyer, received over 2,500 entries in various mediums from writing to woodworking, all based around the theme of ‘togetherness’.

Who is the Imposter?, HM Prison Long Lartin, Painting, 2021

A common property of the works on display is their construction from whatever materials are available, with sculptures made of stockpiled soap melted on radiators, intricate models made from matchsticks, and a collection of colourful birds constructed out of toilet paper. Also notable is the sheer amount of time which has been spent on some of the pieces; one model entitled Lumberjack Park took nineteen months to complete, with the artist continuing to build until it could no longer fit in his cell. While excellent, pieces such as Lumberjack Park serve as stark reminders of the prison system’s handling of the COVID-19 pandemic, with inmates spending 23 hours per day in their cells.

Lumberjack Park, HM Prison Isle of Wight (Albany), 2021

Other works address this theme explicitly; a piece by a prisoner at HM Prison Haverigg entitled Kept Together portrays the monotony of this existence in the form of a repetitive life cycle. Indeed, given its prominence over the last year, it’s no surprise that Covid and lockdowns serve as common motifs throughout this year’s exhibition, with paintings such as Those Who Care and Thanking Staff of NHS acknowledging those who have served as key workers throughout the pandemic, both in and outside of prison walls.

Kept Together, HM Prison Haverigg, 2021

Perhaps one of the most affecting areas of the exhibition comes with the collection of protest works, particularly those inspired by the Black Lives Matter movement and LGBTQ+ pride. With prison restricting active participation in social justice movements, these pieces serve as unique forms of protest and expression from those who are inherently disenfranchised.

The Haywain, HM Prison Dumfries, 2021

Such disenfranchisement - and protest against the prison system itself - is embodied in the landscapes on display, typically representing wide nature-filled vistas. These pieces, sometimes imaginary, sometimes based on real places, are consciously inspired by their artists’ claustrophobia, and work on their own as effective protests against the toughness of incarceration. With a sculpture of John Constable’s Haywain, a prisoner from HM Prison Dumfries evokes this desire for the outside world along with a representation of existing art, serving as a potent reminder of the legitimacy and power of artistic expression, no matter who or where it comes from.

Thanks for reading
Collect your 5 yamos below
REDEEM YAMOS
30/11/2021
Reviews
Adam Wells
The I and the We: Koestler Arts at Southbank Centre
A look at the works of this year's Koestler Awards, as presented at Southbank Centre

Established in 1962, The Koestler Awards acknowledge the artistic work of prisoners, secure hospital patients, and immigration detainees throughout the UK, with the aim of opening new horizons and opportunities for marginalised members of society. This year’s exhibition, currently showing at London’s Southbank Centre and curated by artist Camille Walala and her sister Sarah Ihler-Meyer, received over 2,500 entries in various mediums from writing to woodworking, all based around the theme of ‘togetherness’.

Who is the Imposter?, HM Prison Long Lartin, Painting, 2021

A common property of the works on display is their construction from whatever materials are available, with sculptures made of stockpiled soap melted on radiators, intricate models made from matchsticks, and a collection of colourful birds constructed out of toilet paper. Also notable is the sheer amount of time which has been spent on some of the pieces; one model entitled Lumberjack Park took nineteen months to complete, with the artist continuing to build until it could no longer fit in his cell. While excellent, pieces such as Lumberjack Park serve as stark reminders of the prison system’s handling of the COVID-19 pandemic, with inmates spending 23 hours per day in their cells.

Lumberjack Park, HM Prison Isle of Wight (Albany), 2021

Other works address this theme explicitly; a piece by a prisoner at HM Prison Haverigg entitled Kept Together portrays the monotony of this existence in the form of a repetitive life cycle. Indeed, given its prominence over the last year, it’s no surprise that Covid and lockdowns serve as common motifs throughout this year’s exhibition, with paintings such as Those Who Care and Thanking Staff of NHS acknowledging those who have served as key workers throughout the pandemic, both in and outside of prison walls.

Kept Together, HM Prison Haverigg, 2021

Perhaps one of the most affecting areas of the exhibition comes with the collection of protest works, particularly those inspired by the Black Lives Matter movement and LGBTQ+ pride. With prison restricting active participation in social justice movements, these pieces serve as unique forms of protest and expression from those who are inherently disenfranchised.

The Haywain, HM Prison Dumfries, 2021

Such disenfranchisement - and protest against the prison system itself - is embodied in the landscapes on display, typically representing wide nature-filled vistas. These pieces, sometimes imaginary, sometimes based on real places, are consciously inspired by their artists’ claustrophobia, and work on their own as effective protests against the toughness of incarceration. With a sculpture of John Constable’s Haywain, a prisoner from HM Prison Dumfries evokes this desire for the outside world along with a representation of existing art, serving as a potent reminder of the legitimacy and power of artistic expression, no matter who or where it comes from.

Thanks for reading
Collect your 5 yamos below
REDEEM YAMOS
30/11/2021
Reviews
Adam Wells
The I and the We: Koestler Arts at Southbank Centre

Established in 1962, The Koestler Awards acknowledge the artistic work of prisoners, secure hospital patients, and immigration detainees throughout the UK, with the aim of opening new horizons and opportunities for marginalised members of society. This year’s exhibition, currently showing at London’s Southbank Centre and curated by artist Camille Walala and her sister Sarah Ihler-Meyer, received over 2,500 entries in various mediums from writing to woodworking, all based around the theme of ‘togetherness’.

Who is the Imposter?, HM Prison Long Lartin, Painting, 2021

A common property of the works on display is their construction from whatever materials are available, with sculptures made of stockpiled soap melted on radiators, intricate models made from matchsticks, and a collection of colourful birds constructed out of toilet paper. Also notable is the sheer amount of time which has been spent on some of the pieces; one model entitled Lumberjack Park took nineteen months to complete, with the artist continuing to build until it could no longer fit in his cell. While excellent, pieces such as Lumberjack Park serve as stark reminders of the prison system’s handling of the COVID-19 pandemic, with inmates spending 23 hours per day in their cells.

Lumberjack Park, HM Prison Isle of Wight (Albany), 2021

Other works address this theme explicitly; a piece by a prisoner at HM Prison Haverigg entitled Kept Together portrays the monotony of this existence in the form of a repetitive life cycle. Indeed, given its prominence over the last year, it’s no surprise that Covid and lockdowns serve as common motifs throughout this year’s exhibition, with paintings such as Those Who Care and Thanking Staff of NHS acknowledging those who have served as key workers throughout the pandemic, both in and outside of prison walls.

Kept Together, HM Prison Haverigg, 2021

Perhaps one of the most affecting areas of the exhibition comes with the collection of protest works, particularly those inspired by the Black Lives Matter movement and LGBTQ+ pride. With prison restricting active participation in social justice movements, these pieces serve as unique forms of protest and expression from those who are inherently disenfranchised.

The Haywain, HM Prison Dumfries, 2021

Such disenfranchisement - and protest against the prison system itself - is embodied in the landscapes on display, typically representing wide nature-filled vistas. These pieces, sometimes imaginary, sometimes based on real places, are consciously inspired by their artists’ claustrophobia, and work on their own as effective protests against the toughness of incarceration. With a sculpture of John Constable’s Haywain, a prisoner from HM Prison Dumfries evokes this desire for the outside world along with a representation of existing art, serving as a potent reminder of the legitimacy and power of artistic expression, no matter who or where it comes from.

Thanks for reading
Collect your 5 yamos below
REDEEM YAMOS
30/11/2021
Reviews
Adam Wells
The I and the We: Koestler Arts at Southbank Centre
A look at the works of this year's Koestler Awards, as presented at Southbank Centre

Established in 1962, The Koestler Awards acknowledge the artistic work of prisoners, secure hospital patients, and immigration detainees throughout the UK, with the aim of opening new horizons and opportunities for marginalised members of society. This year’s exhibition, currently showing at London’s Southbank Centre and curated by artist Camille Walala and her sister Sarah Ihler-Meyer, received over 2,500 entries in various mediums from writing to woodworking, all based around the theme of ‘togetherness’.

Who is the Imposter?, HM Prison Long Lartin, Painting, 2021

A common property of the works on display is their construction from whatever materials are available, with sculptures made of stockpiled soap melted on radiators, intricate models made from matchsticks, and a collection of colourful birds constructed out of toilet paper. Also notable is the sheer amount of time which has been spent on some of the pieces; one model entitled Lumberjack Park took nineteen months to complete, with the artist continuing to build until it could no longer fit in his cell. While excellent, pieces such as Lumberjack Park serve as stark reminders of the prison system’s handling of the COVID-19 pandemic, with inmates spending 23 hours per day in their cells.

Lumberjack Park, HM Prison Isle of Wight (Albany), 2021

Other works address this theme explicitly; a piece by a prisoner at HM Prison Haverigg entitled Kept Together portrays the monotony of this existence in the form of a repetitive life cycle. Indeed, given its prominence over the last year, it’s no surprise that Covid and lockdowns serve as common motifs throughout this year’s exhibition, with paintings such as Those Who Care and Thanking Staff of NHS acknowledging those who have served as key workers throughout the pandemic, both in and outside of prison walls.

Kept Together, HM Prison Haverigg, 2021

Perhaps one of the most affecting areas of the exhibition comes with the collection of protest works, particularly those inspired by the Black Lives Matter movement and LGBTQ+ pride. With prison restricting active participation in social justice movements, these pieces serve as unique forms of protest and expression from those who are inherently disenfranchised.

The Haywain, HM Prison Dumfries, 2021

Such disenfranchisement - and protest against the prison system itself - is embodied in the landscapes on display, typically representing wide nature-filled vistas. These pieces, sometimes imaginary, sometimes based on real places, are consciously inspired by their artists’ claustrophobia, and work on their own as effective protests against the toughness of incarceration. With a sculpture of John Constable’s Haywain, a prisoner from HM Prison Dumfries evokes this desire for the outside world along with a representation of existing art, serving as a potent reminder of the legitimacy and power of artistic expression, no matter who or where it comes from.

Thanks for reading
Collect your 5 yamos below
REDEEM YAMOS
30/11/2021
Reviews
Adam Wells
The I and the We: Koestler Arts at Southbank Centre
A look at the works of this year's Koestler Awards, as presented at Southbank Centre

Established in 1962, The Koestler Awards acknowledge the artistic work of prisoners, secure hospital patients, and immigration detainees throughout the UK, with the aim of opening new horizons and opportunities for marginalised members of society. This year’s exhibition, currently showing at London’s Southbank Centre and curated by artist Camille Walala and her sister Sarah Ihler-Meyer, received over 2,500 entries in various mediums from writing to woodworking, all based around the theme of ‘togetherness’.

Who is the Imposter?, HM Prison Long Lartin, Painting, 2021

A common property of the works on display is their construction from whatever materials are available, with sculptures made of stockpiled soap melted on radiators, intricate models made from matchsticks, and a collection of colourful birds constructed out of toilet paper. Also notable is the sheer amount of time which has been spent on some of the pieces; one model entitled Lumberjack Park took nineteen months to complete, with the artist continuing to build until it could no longer fit in his cell. While excellent, pieces such as Lumberjack Park serve as stark reminders of the prison system’s handling of the COVID-19 pandemic, with inmates spending 23 hours per day in their cells.

Lumberjack Park, HM Prison Isle of Wight (Albany), 2021

Other works address this theme explicitly; a piece by a prisoner at HM Prison Haverigg entitled Kept Together portrays the monotony of this existence in the form of a repetitive life cycle. Indeed, given its prominence over the last year, it’s no surprise that Covid and lockdowns serve as common motifs throughout this year’s exhibition, with paintings such as Those Who Care and Thanking Staff of NHS acknowledging those who have served as key workers throughout the pandemic, both in and outside of prison walls.

Kept Together, HM Prison Haverigg, 2021

Perhaps one of the most affecting areas of the exhibition comes with the collection of protest works, particularly those inspired by the Black Lives Matter movement and LGBTQ+ pride. With prison restricting active participation in social justice movements, these pieces serve as unique forms of protest and expression from those who are inherently disenfranchised.

The Haywain, HM Prison Dumfries, 2021

Such disenfranchisement - and protest against the prison system itself - is embodied in the landscapes on display, typically representing wide nature-filled vistas. These pieces, sometimes imaginary, sometimes based on real places, are consciously inspired by their artists’ claustrophobia, and work on their own as effective protests against the toughness of incarceration. With a sculpture of John Constable’s Haywain, a prisoner from HM Prison Dumfries evokes this desire for the outside world along with a representation of existing art, serving as a potent reminder of the legitimacy and power of artistic expression, no matter who or where it comes from.

Thanks for reading
Collect your 5 yamos below
REDEEM YAMOS
30/11/2021
Reviews
Adam Wells
The I and the We: Koestler Arts at Southbank Centre
A look at the works of this year's Koestler Awards, as presented at Southbank Centre

Established in 1962, The Koestler Awards acknowledge the artistic work of prisoners, secure hospital patients, and immigration detainees throughout the UK, with the aim of opening new horizons and opportunities for marginalised members of society. This year’s exhibition, currently showing at London’s Southbank Centre and curated by artist Camille Walala and her sister Sarah Ihler-Meyer, received over 2,500 entries in various mediums from writing to woodworking, all based around the theme of ‘togetherness’.

Who is the Imposter?, HM Prison Long Lartin, Painting, 2021

A common property of the works on display is their construction from whatever materials are available, with sculptures made of stockpiled soap melted on radiators, intricate models made from matchsticks, and a collection of colourful birds constructed out of toilet paper. Also notable is the sheer amount of time which has been spent on some of the pieces; one model entitled Lumberjack Park took nineteen months to complete, with the artist continuing to build until it could no longer fit in his cell. While excellent, pieces such as Lumberjack Park serve as stark reminders of the prison system’s handling of the COVID-19 pandemic, with inmates spending 23 hours per day in their cells.

Lumberjack Park, HM Prison Isle of Wight (Albany), 2021

Other works address this theme explicitly; a piece by a prisoner at HM Prison Haverigg entitled Kept Together portrays the monotony of this existence in the form of a repetitive life cycle. Indeed, given its prominence over the last year, it’s no surprise that Covid and lockdowns serve as common motifs throughout this year’s exhibition, with paintings such as Those Who Care and Thanking Staff of NHS acknowledging those who have served as key workers throughout the pandemic, both in and outside of prison walls.

Kept Together, HM Prison Haverigg, 2021

Perhaps one of the most affecting areas of the exhibition comes with the collection of protest works, particularly those inspired by the Black Lives Matter movement and LGBTQ+ pride. With prison restricting active participation in social justice movements, these pieces serve as unique forms of protest and expression from those who are inherently disenfranchised.

The Haywain, HM Prison Dumfries, 2021

Such disenfranchisement - and protest against the prison system itself - is embodied in the landscapes on display, typically representing wide nature-filled vistas. These pieces, sometimes imaginary, sometimes based on real places, are consciously inspired by their artists’ claustrophobia, and work on their own as effective protests against the toughness of incarceration. With a sculpture of John Constable’s Haywain, a prisoner from HM Prison Dumfries evokes this desire for the outside world along with a representation of existing art, serving as a potent reminder of the legitimacy and power of artistic expression, no matter who or where it comes from.

Thanks for reading
Collect your 5 yamos below
REDEEM YAMOS
30/11/2021
Reviews
Adam Wells
The I and the We: Koestler Arts at Southbank Centre
A look at the works of this year's Koestler Awards, as presented at Southbank Centre

Established in 1962, The Koestler Awards acknowledge the artistic work of prisoners, secure hospital patients, and immigration detainees throughout the UK, with the aim of opening new horizons and opportunities for marginalised members of society. This year’s exhibition, currently showing at London’s Southbank Centre and curated by artist Camille Walala and her sister Sarah Ihler-Meyer, received over 2,500 entries in various mediums from writing to woodworking, all based around the theme of ‘togetherness’.

Who is the Imposter?, HM Prison Long Lartin, Painting, 2021

A common property of the works on display is their construction from whatever materials are available, with sculptures made of stockpiled soap melted on radiators, intricate models made from matchsticks, and a collection of colourful birds constructed out of toilet paper. Also notable is the sheer amount of time which has been spent on some of the pieces; one model entitled Lumberjack Park took nineteen months to complete, with the artist continuing to build until it could no longer fit in his cell. While excellent, pieces such as Lumberjack Park serve as stark reminders of the prison system’s handling of the COVID-19 pandemic, with inmates spending 23 hours per day in their cells.

Lumberjack Park, HM Prison Isle of Wight (Albany), 2021

Other works address this theme explicitly; a piece by a prisoner at HM Prison Haverigg entitled Kept Together portrays the monotony of this existence in the form of a repetitive life cycle. Indeed, given its prominence over the last year, it’s no surprise that Covid and lockdowns serve as common motifs throughout this year’s exhibition, with paintings such as Those Who Care and Thanking Staff of NHS acknowledging those who have served as key workers throughout the pandemic, both in and outside of prison walls.

Kept Together, HM Prison Haverigg, 2021

Perhaps one of the most affecting areas of the exhibition comes with the collection of protest works, particularly those inspired by the Black Lives Matter movement and LGBTQ+ pride. With prison restricting active participation in social justice movements, these pieces serve as unique forms of protest and expression from those who are inherently disenfranchised.

The Haywain, HM Prison Dumfries, 2021

Such disenfranchisement - and protest against the prison system itself - is embodied in the landscapes on display, typically representing wide nature-filled vistas. These pieces, sometimes imaginary, sometimes based on real places, are consciously inspired by their artists’ claustrophobia, and work on their own as effective protests against the toughness of incarceration. With a sculpture of John Constable’s Haywain, a prisoner from HM Prison Dumfries evokes this desire for the outside world along with a representation of existing art, serving as a potent reminder of the legitimacy and power of artistic expression, no matter who or where it comes from.

Thanks for reading
Collect your 5 yamos below
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