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GRAFT : Challenging The Stereotype of Prison Art

Exhibition runs from 08/05/09 until 01/06/09
Gallery Open: Monday to Saturday 10am - 4pm

An exhibition at the Artlink gallery showcasing a diverse selection of contemporary artwork created by prisoners from HMP Everthorpe together with artwork by their tutors, aiming to dispel the stereotypical idea of ‘prison art'

GRAFT exhibition

‘GRAFT' is a celebration of the talents of prisoners studying art at Her Majesty's Prison Everthorpe. This exhibition showcases a selection of prisoner's artwork alongside their tutors, aiming to dispel the stereotypical idea of ‘prison art', and re-enforce the learning artists confidence by exhibiting alongside experienced contemporary artists. The selection of work shows how the exhibiting artists pride themselves on establishing a high standard of technique and skills alongside experimentation and the development of ideas. The artworks diversify from realism to abstraction and are produced using a wide range of materials, mediums and media.

The prisoner's showing in this exhibition are all mature men, many having witnessed a wide spectrum of life's trials and tribulations. They decided on the title ‘GRAFT' meaning to work hard, after a discussion relating to how they thought their work would be looked upon, they wanted people to know ‘it's been hard graft'. The title came to be and an exhibition was established.

 GRAFT exhibition

"As Artists teaching in a Prison we are very aware of each prisoner's sense of adventure and rich tapestry of experiences. These prisoners who have become artists, perhaps more than most, have experienced extremes of life, which many of us have been fortunate to avoid. We as tutors have tried to turn this richness of experience into a positive source for the making of artwork. If art is to be truly visceral, dynamic and have true resonance it must come from direct first hand experience. Some of the artists involved in this exhibition are now ex-offenders, having studied on a full time art course on release."

GRAFT exhibition

"We encourage each individual to express themselves through whichever medium they have the most affinity - a rapper was recently guided into creative writing, a graffiti artist into making impacting sign boards for the corridors of the prison, and a disabled semi-professional book binder was encouraged to continue his practise making sketch books, recycling and repairing damaged art books and those from the main library."

GRAFT exhibition

"To coax the best from a learner they must be engaged in their subject. By encouraging their own interests and beliefs, we maximise their potential and curiosity whilst simultaneously widening the experience of their peers. This ideology aids communication skills, builds confidence and self-esteem, is therapeutic and most of all enhances tolerance of each other's differences.

The art team at HMP Everthorpe is made up of eight practising artists, each with highly developed specialisms providing a wide spectrum of skills and experience.
We are all artists who teach rather than teachers who make art. Whilst we do not think we are unique: we do believe our approach to teaching art is at the vanguard of Prison Art Education."

GRAFT exhibition

GRAFT exhibition

GRAFT exhibition

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