Koestler exhibition volunteer review: Swans


Swans, Stockton Hall Hospital, Keith Bromley Platinum Award for Photography, digital print on paper.

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.

I was drawn to this piece because of its witty and simple subject matter. The photograph depicts two cloves of garlic facing each other, and due to the shape of their stalk and dry skin, they appear to take the form of two swans in conversation. This speaks volumes of the resourcefulness of the offenders, secure patients and detainees involved in the Koestler exhibition. Many of them had very limited access to art materials, causing some pieces to be made of bread, matchsticks, toilet paper and soap. But Swans also reflects the emotional conditions that many faced during their incarceration; hoping for meaningful interaction with another. This photograph is joyful, heart-warming and simply made me smile. (Ruth)



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