Koestler exhibition volunteer review: Swans

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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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Koestler exhibition volunteer review: Unlocked

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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There was a matchstick model called unlocked made by Christopher. A bet was made by a prison officer and Christopher, The prison officer said to Christopher that he cannot build a functional lock with working mechanism using just matchsticks. Christopher prove the officer wrong by building a functional lock made with matchsticks, He used a spring from a pen and build a working lock, The lock he built won a Bronze Award.

(Robert)

 

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I like The Lion King because its funny, because I need to know about the Lion king, because I enjoyed it very much.

(Toyin)

 

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I am really fascinated by the Fire-Eater, because the dark browns, whites and reds stood out strongly on the wooden base.

(Ash)

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

Koestler exhibition volunteer review: W.T.F.

 

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In the painting W.T.F., a guy is sitting in the corner of the room crying and grabbing his head, with a letter crumpled up and an envelope ripped in a rush on the floor. A bad news, or maybe even a tragedy has happened to his family. But he is inside, has no ability to control and help the things happened and people he loved on the outside world, but to accept them frustratingly. During the tour, the tour guide told us a story: once he was conducting a tour, a visitor recognized the space in this painting and said he was in the same prison before. The details of the prison space are depicted very precisely, which evoked this visitor’s memory. Maybe he experienced the same feeling as the artist, hopeless, desperate, lonely… (Yunzi, Giulia, Robert)

 

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.

Koestler Volunteers discuss We Are All Human

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.

 

“My favourite artwork is the colourful ‘Lion King’, because the use of all the known colours really brought the lion’s face to life. (Ash)

This morning during the guided tour one artwork in particular captured our feelings. Property of Helion-king-paul-hmp-prison-magilligan-aridne-birberg-highly-commended-awardr Majesty Queen made by Peter which tells a story which happens to every prisoner. When they first come to prison, they will be given a plastic bag where they put their belongings. That same plastic bag will be returned to the prisoner the day they become free again. However, in the painting the plastic bag covering the face becomes a motif, the freedom they have lost during their prison years will never come back. Although the objects in the bag remain the same, this is not the same for the person who will receive them.  (Yunzi and Giulia)

I saw a sculpture made entirely out of soap. The sculpture was incredibly detailed and took a long period to make. The soap was used to make a replica of inmates or prisoner fighting each other. It was quite a large sculpture. (Robert)dantes-fireplace-tom-hmp-prison-peterborough-inspiration-platinum-award-for-sculpture

I’d like to talk about a couple of pieces.  The first is the model of a clock tower made entirely of matchsticks.  It took the artist 18 months to complete and you can understand why when you see it.  It is a magnificent piece in its scale, vision and in the level of detail integrated into the work. Not all works are for sale and when you understand the story behind this piece you can understand why it might be too precious and symbolic to let go.  I will briefly mention the two works by Peter one of which is Property of her Majesty (also mentioned by my volunteer colleagues) and WTF. They are assured and technically brilliant works which convey a complex set of emotions in a superficially simple style.  I really wish I’d had a chance to buy them and I hope they have gone to a good home.  The last piece is a poem called Never Again.  I missed this piece and was alerted to it by two women who were on the same tour with me.  They came up to me at the end of the tour and one of them had tears in her eyes.  When I read it I understood why.  The poem speaks about the refugee crisis and the perilous journeys of people trying to escape from harm.  It is in the collection of poems handbook on the yellow plinth. Do try and make sure you read it. (Dinea)”

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