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Collaborative exhibition features art by prison inmates

Media Release 15 March 2017

Collaborative exhibition features art by prison inmates

Artworks created by inmates from Ngawha Prison will go on display at an exhibition at NorthTec’s Geoff Wilson Gallery next month.

The exhibition, entitled Limit:less, is the result of a collaboration between the Department of Corrections and NorthTec.

Alysn Midgelow-Marsden, NorthTec’s Creative Industries Education Coordinator, said: “This is an exciting, collaborative exhibition between three diverse groups of artists. Each artist has worked using different limited conditions either imposed by their work or their life.

“There are four artists from the Northland Region Corrections Facility, four ex-students from NorthTec (Hamish Oakley-Browne, Sean Gray, Andy Kingston and Trish Clarke), and four professional working artists - Jeff Thomson, Piet Nieuwland, Beth Hill and Leanne Jackson. They have been teamed in a game of ‘art-tag’ for which each participant has created an artwork, this work has been passed on to the next artist in their team and so on. The participants are from a broad range of specialities, including paint, carving, music, writing and metal.”

The use of art as an intervention is an established method of working with offenders. Evidence shows that this is associated with reductions in reoffending and raising awareness of the criminal justice system, reducing rule-breaking and improving relationships in prison, delivering basic and key skills and developing the prison education system, changing attitudes to offending, building up human and social capital and addressing poor thinking skills and lack of empathy.

Beth Hill, Art Tutor for Redemption Arts & Education Services at Northland Region Correctional Facility, said: “This is an exciting opportunity for all of us and opens conversations about artistic practice in Corrections and Northland. Our team here at NRCF are looking forward to the response to our works.”

Alysn Midgelow-Marsden said: “Having seen previous examples of the work by the inmates at the Correctional Facility, I have been very impressed. When I visited the programme and talked to Beth Hill and the participants, we developed this exhibition idea. The key is the thought of limits to life and our creative activities, and the collaboration and extension of the art made as a part of this experiment in crossing boundaries and extending ideas for art practice for both students, inmates and professional, well-established artists.”

The exhibition will open on Thursday, 6 April from 5pm to 7pm, and will be open to the public from 7 April to 4 May. The gallery will be open on Wednesdays from 10am to 6pm, and Thursdays and Fridays from 10am to 4pm. At other times the gallery can be opened by appointment; contact Alysn Midgelow-Marsden on 09-470 3805 or via gallery@northtec.ac.nz.

Alongside the exhibition will be a series of events and talks. For more information see the gallery Facebook page (geoffwilsongallery).


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