A touching and sensitive exhibition running in central London, is featuring artwork produced in UK’s prisons, secure hospitals and immigration removal centres, by ex-offenders in the community.
We are all Human is the UK’s yearly showcase of arts by prisoners, ex-offenders on community sentences, secure psychiatric patients and immigration detainees. It is the ninth exhibition to date in a partnership between the Koestler Trust and Southbank Centre.
The display includes different artistic mediums such as painting, music, writing and ceramics in addition to ‘typical prison’ crafts, for example matchstick modelling. The art delves into ideas such as time, scrutiny and the natural environment with focus on creative writing and poetry within this display.
‘Prison is a concrete jungle so I wanted to get as much nature into the exhibition as possible. We are all human – it’s a really simple truth.’ – Benjamin Zephaniah (curator).
Zephaniah was also previously in prison in the 1970s and notes, “there was no way you could express yourself. I felt like a creative being but there was nothing there to do…. We are all trying to survive”.
On this note, the art is almost seen as a second chance for the prisoners and patients to be able to express themselves, as individuals. It gives them a form of escapism away from perhaps difficulties they may be overcoming about themselves as individuals. This also has correlations with the element of rehabilitation and how, something as simple as art can help to achieve this, and maybe even give them a newly found purpose in life.
There are also free of charge exhibition tours, led by trained ex-offender hosts. Additionally, there will be occasional speeches, performance, guided tours and panel discussions.
The work will enable spectators to personally discover how the arts replicate and enhance the lives of individuals in protected and criminal justice settings. Not long to go on this one, come along and see the artwork for yourself.
15 Sep – 13 Nov 2016
Spirit Level, Southbank Centre, London, SE1 8XX
Open Daily 10am – 11pm
(The exhibition will be closed to the public for private events on the following dates and times) :
Tuesday 8 November 5.30pm-8.30pm
Wednesday 9 November 5.30pm-8.30pm