By: Warren Nunn
An art exhibition now on display in Brisbane is an expression of the talents of various individuals with a shared, but not-so-common experience.
They are prisoners—individuals removed from society for a time—but, given the opportunity to express themselves, they have produced imagery that goes beyond the stigma of their situation.
The exhibition is the result of Prison Fellowship Australia’s Art from Inside program that has been running since 2003.
When 96five’s Timothy Charles spoke with Prison Fellowship Australia’s Graham Hembrow about the exhibition, he said for some prisoners it was an opportunity to show remorse and to give back to society.
About 20 pieces would be on display until Thursday, July 12 at the Sheehan Gallery, Australian Catholic University, in Banyo.
Graham, who is Prison Fellowship Australia’s Queensland Manager, said art was one of those mediums that allowed people to discover themselves.
“For many prisoners they don’t realise that they have this hidden talent to be able to create a piece of art whether it’s painting, drawing or sculpture.”
The exhibition should also encourage the public to appreciate the worth of people behind bars.
“They are people and they will be returned to the community,” Graham said.
“They have something to offer the community and it’s really encouraging for them. It’s something that builds self-esteem and also, in some cases, gives them an opportunity to earn an income post-release.”
Graham said prisoners could decide to either donate the painting towards prison fellowship or keep their pieces. Money raised went towards programs that helped prisoners’ children and victims of crime.
There were also plans to open up the exhibition to prisoners’ children and other people who work within the corrective services system. “So those who go on our kids’ camp can produce a joint piece of art to display at the art show,” Graham said.
Details about the exhibition
Sheehan Gallery, Australian Catholic University, 1100 Nudgee Rd, Banyo, Brisbane.
Wednesday 4 July to Thursday 12 July (excluding Saturday and Sunday)
About the author: Warren Nunn has been a journalist for more than 40 years. For 27 years until 2013, he worked at Queensland’s main daily newspaper The Courier-Mail.