Prisoners reveal their stories in FORM of art

Aboriginal Art Directory | 24.05.10

As the old adage goes “a picture is worth a thousand words” and 15 Aboriginal prisoners from Greenough Regional Prison have used brushes to tell their stories.

These artworks are now on display at Port Hedland Courthouse Gallery until 23 June, as part of an exhibition featuring more than 80 pieces of quality Aboriginal art.

The exhibition is a first-ever collaboration between the Department of Corrective Services and not-for profit organisation FORM, which organises cultural and community development projects throughout the State.

Department Arts Coordinator Abdul-Karim Abdullah said the exhibition represented a great opportunity for the artists involved to showcase their work and provide a pathway to a productive, law-abiding lifestyle on release.

“For prisoners, getting involved in art enables reappraisal of identity and sense of self as an active participant in culture, which is a vital ingredient in the rehabilitation process,” he said.

Tutor Helen Ansell, who suggested the idea of exhibiting prisoners’ artwork in Port Hedland a year ago, said FORM supported the project for several reasons.

“FORM was excited about working with up-and-coming Aboriginal artists and saw it as a way of supporting the education program in prison by providing the art materials,” she said. “They also wanted to provide opportunities to artists so they could continue their artistic career when they were released.”

Helen teaches art to prisoners at Greenough and is also employed by FORM to mentor emerging Aboriginal artists in Port Hedland.


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