Koestler exhibition volunteer review: Pillow of Dreams

We Are All Human is an exhibition showcasing artwork produced in the UK’s prisons, secure hospitals and immigration removal centres, and by ex-offenders in the community.

The display includes painting, music, writing and ceramics as well as traditional prison crafts such as matchstick modelling. The 2016 annual UK Koestler exhibition has been curated by writer and dub poet Benjamin Zephaniah who has selected from over 6,000 artworks submitted to the 2016 Koestler Awards.

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The majority of the artworks in this showcase are very good and remarkable. I am really impressed by the creativity and the wide range of ideas that prisoners express through art.

If I could take one of all these pieces of art with me at home that would be the “Pillow of dreams”. Initially, I would like to mention that it is a very good combination of arts including poetry, sculpture and painting. Furthermore, the imagination of the artist is being expressed by representing a cell in prison which is full of colours, includes animals and flowers and it is fully decorated like a common room. So, it is exactly the opposite of what most prison cells look like (black & white including only very few furniture. In addition, this piece of art does not simply represent a prison’s room decorated with common house furniture. It is a room which also includes nature (e.g. flowers on the floor, bird on the bedroom etc.).

To conclude, I believe that this composition of various arts combined with this mixture of a cell, common house furniture and nature can make anybody who takes a look at it the “Pillow of dreams” feel free, healthy, happy and full of imagination.

Athanasios Chalmoukis

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