Tuesday 14 November, 2017

Last chance to view Inside

Staff from the Charity team as well as Communications and Marketing, visited the Koestler Trust’s Inside exhibition at the Southbank Centre, London. The poignant show, curated by world renowned contemporary artist, Antony Gormley, features art by individuals held in UK prisons, secure hospitals and immigration removal centres, and by ex-offenders in the community.

We met up with the Koestler Trust’s Development Director, Nathalie Bristow, who explained all about the awards/exhibition. Koestler, the country’s best-known prison arts charity, is the only arts award scheme for offenders and receives over 8,000 entries a year. It sells visual art when both the artist and the establishment give permission. £500 (plus frame as relevant) is the top price for pieces at Inside.

We also learned that by entering the Koestler Awards, participants can gain recognition for their achievements, get feedback on how to develop their artistic output and increase motivation by working to a deadline. Many entrants use awards or sales money to buy further arts materials or pay for courses.

Nathalie was also keen to thank the Goldsmiths’ Company for its generous grant which paid for the exhibition’s hosts, themselves ex-offenders.

Following our lively conversation with Nathalie, a very engaging host gave us a tour of the show as he focused on selected works and told us about the difficulties of life ‘Inside’. Responding to this very theme, the thought-provoking art on display provides viewers with a multitude of creative expressions about what it means to be detained or incarcerated.

As Gormley points out in the exhibition’s promotional material: Art is a place in which you can do what you like; it need not be for or about anyone else but the artist. In the words of one prisoner, “in our minds we can always be free”.

Spirit Level, Royal Festival Hall, Southbank Centre, London
21 September – 15 November

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