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Liverpool prison inmate’s art exhibition

prisonsArt truly is for the people and anyone can create art, as a display from patients in secure wards and prison inmates in Liverpool proves. Art by Offenders and Secure Patients, displayed in the Contemporary Urban Centre, is a first for Liverpool and probably for a lot of other places, too. Exhibits, which include creative writing, music, paintings and sculpture, were selected from last year’s Koestler Awards entries.

Arthur Koestler, a writer who became a political prisoner, began the awards in 1962. Speaking to BBC Radio Merseyside, Tim Robertson of the Koestler Trust said that the awards scheme helped prisoners and offenders in general to communicate using the means of art. He added that the arts required discipline and that offenders had failed in taking account of the impact of their actions on others. Art made people look at the impact it had on others.

He went on to say that art was about communicating, coming to terms with emotions and turning them into something constructive. Judges gave positive feedback to entrants. Inmates from Thorn Cross Young Offenders Institution, Cheshire, are writing poetry based on the works on display, which will also feature alongside. The artwork will be for sale and the profits will be shared equally with the artists.

The deadline for entries to the 2011 Koestler Awards is fast approaching, 8 April 2011, and the Trust is looking for volunteers to help with processing their usual number of over 5,000 applications. Visit their website, www.koestlertrust.org.uk, for details.

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