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New exhibition highlights the tales of young criminals and mental health patients

A new public exhibition titled Arrow in the Blue is on display until from January 19th until March 24th at the Birmingham Museum & Art Gallery. The collection is entirely composed of pieces created by young criminals, convicted criminals on probation, and mental health patients.

The intent of the display is to allow prisoners to explore their creative sides and paint the landscape of their world to help explain why people may end up turning to crime. The exhibition is curated by six teenagers that are part of the surveillance and intensive supervision team at the Birmingham Youth Offending Service (BYOS).

Project coordinator for BYOS, Ian Clarke, stated that the exhibition has offered many young people a great opportunity to really see how much work goes into creating a gallery at one of the country’s most well known art institutes. She explained that the curators were very selective when it came to selecting pieces that they felt would help demonstrate their experiences with probation and custody.

The collection itself is very eclectic and includes holiday scenes, landscape paintings, photographs from the natural world, and portraits of their loved ones. The gallery showing was originally organized by the Koestler Trust, a national charity that promotes offender art.

Organisation member Sarah Grainger-Jones stated that every year they have national awards to help assign honour to the best art from the country’s offenders. She added that there have always been some very strong works from the West Midlands so it is great that they will soon launch their first exhibition at the Birmingham Museum.

The pieces for the gallery exhibit were selected out of hundreds of drawings, paintings creative writing, and sculpture that were submitted to the Koestler Trust.


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