July 2, 2007 - Institute of Contemporary Arts (ICA) - Presents Insider Art
July 2, 2007

Presents Insider Art

The Lodge of Taste, Paint on canvas, 1300 x 1200, Buckley Hall HMP, Koestler Highly Commended. Copyright: Marcus Leith and ICA 2007.

Insider Art
Art from the Koestler Awards Scheme

12 July – 9 Sept 2007

Institute of Contemporary Arts
The Mall, London, SW1Y 5AH
44 20 7930 3647

The ICA presents Insider Art — an exhibition of selected artworks by prisoners and others in confinement in Britain — including inmates of young offender institutions, high security psychiatric hospitals and immigration removal centres.

The work has been specially chosen for the ICA from the Koestler Awards Scheme – an annual open submission competition which promotes art and design across the criminal justice system – by a panel comprising Zelda Cheatle (photography consultant and Koestler trustee), Grayson Perry (artist), Dr Mike Phillips (author and curator, Tate) and Mark Sladen (Director of Exhibitions, ICA).

2007 has seen a record 3,100 entries in the art and design categories for the Koestler Awards. Submissions are sent to the Koestler Arts Centre at HMP Wormwood Scrubs, and as well as financial awards, feedback to entrants is given by the judging panel. This is the first year that works from the awards scheme will be shown in a major public institution bringing the scheme and the work to the widest audience it has ever had. It is also the first time that some of the work will be exhibited under the artists’ own names.

The ICA is immensely proud to host this exhibition which reflects the great talents contained within some of Britain’s least public institution. The exhibition will present approximately two hundred artworks drawn from the 2007 submission. Works on display will include painting, sculpture, drawing, ceramics, textiles and other media. Many of the pieces will be for sale, with proceeds from the sales divided between the artists, the Koestler Trust and Victim Support.

The Koestler Trust is an independent charity that was founded by the Hungarian-born writer and activist Arthur Koestler in 1962 to support the creation of art in prisons. Koestler served time as a political prisoner in Spain and France, spent six weeks in HMP Pentonville in 1940 where he was sent as an illegal alien, and likened the experience of prison to a “death of the spirit”. He believed that giving prisoners the opportunity to create art would restore confidence, encourage communication and inspire a positive means of expression, which in turn would aid the rehabilitation process and transition to life outside.

Since its foundation, the Koestler Trust has developed a unique national role and is recognised across the criminal justice system for supporting and rewarding the creative activity of offenders and for showcasing their arts to the public. 2007 will see the launch of Koestler Mentors — artists trained to support award winners to continue their arts activity after their release from prison. The Trust is funded by individual donors and other sources, but has also relied on a Government grant. Sadly this grant (which constituted a fifth of its running costs) is being cut entirely this year.
Insider Art offers an important insight into both the vibrant artistic culture within the criminal justice system and the work of the Koestler Trust in fostering it.

The exhibition will be accompanied by a programme of talks and gallery tours.
Saturday 21 July, 3 pm: Brandon Room
Panel discussion with three of the exhibition selectors for Insider Art, Zelda Cheatle (photography consultant and Koestler trustee), Dr Mike Phillips (author and curator, Tate) and Mark Sladen (Director of Exhibitions, ICA).
Sunday 22 July and every Saturday from 28 July-8 September, 3pm: Lower Gallery
Special tours of the exhibition will be given every week by individuals directly involved with the criminal justice system in Britain, including Koestler Trust Director Tim Robertson and ex-offender artists.


Insider Art is kindly supported by:

Institute of Contemporary Arts

Institute of Contemporary Arts (ICA)
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