Transformation: MK College Offender Learning Exhibition
3 - 26 April 2015
Special Launch Evening: Wednesday 8 April 2015 / 4-6pm / All welcome
This month MK Gallery Project Space hosts the MK College Offender Learning exhibition Transformation. The exhibition features artworks made by inmates from seven regional prisons: HMP Woodhill in Milton Keynes; HMP Bullingdon near Bicester; HMP Hewell in Redditch; HMP Grendon near Bicester; HMP Aylesbury; HMP Huntercombe; HMP Long Lartin in Evesham and HMP Sudbury near Uttoxeter.
Whilst each exhibit has a story to tell in the sense that the object has gone from raw material to finished piece, more importantly, collectively they reveal the amazing and wide ranging skills of prison inmates and how being creative has helped those prisoners to change their lives. Speaking of their oil painting The Tree of Life, for example, one participant observed: “I have learnt so much about painting and drawing on the art course that I will continue when I leave prison. Art has helped me to put on paper and canvas all my ideas about my own reality and helped me to use my time constructively.” Another, speaking of their poster Don’t Count the Days, showing a man looking out of a prison cell said: “Often this is what most of us do a lot of the time, and this can lead to stress and depression. However I found that.rather than count the days, it is more worthwhile to make the days count instead. This can be done through trying to better yourself physically, mentally and spiritually. I tried to portray this in the painting by making the figure quite muscular to show he works out; the certificates reflect the academic/mental aspects; and some of the books on the shelf signify a religious/spiritual element.”
Maxine Bennett, Innovation & Development Manager of MK College OLASS said “It’s great that we have the opportunity to showcase this talent in Milton Keynes and demonstrate the positive influence that art in education has on inmates’ lives through the MK College Offender Learning Scheme.”
MK College Offender Learning and Skills Service (OLASS) works in partnership with thirty prisons nationally, providing a wide range of educational programmes which support people with convictions into work placements. More creative options such as arts, crafts and design form a major part of a prisoners’ rehabilitation and reveals many hidden talents.