ARTWORK by people in secure hospitals, secure children’s homes, immigration detention centres, community justice services and prisons throughout Scotland will go on display in Edinburgh from today.
The 2015 Koestler Awards, a 50-year-old competition for people incarcerated in the UK, features over 150 artworks including paintings, sculpture, needlecraft, nail art, printmaking, woodcraft, audio, animation and writing.
Artist Ruth Ewan who selected the work on display in Edinburgh’s Summerhall, said: “Having been involved in the Koestler Trust’s judging process for the last five years I was delighted to select the exhibition of work from Scotland.
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“Seeing the thousands of artworks packed into the Koestler building at Wormwood Scrubs every year, certain works always stay with me. Entries from across the UK are mixed together and organised into categories, and yet there are always works from Scotland which stand out, some because of their more obvious cultural reference points, but mainly because of what they depict, the Scottish landscape, social realities or a sense of dry wit, evident across the broad range of visual and written work.
"There is a sense that these works had to be made, these stories need to be told, and the Koestler Trust allows us as viewers to listen to these voices we otherwise cannot, or will not, hear.’’
This is the sixth exhibition the trust has held in Scotland, and next year’s display is booked for Glasgow’s Tramway. There were 1,788 pieces of art entered for the prize this year.
James King, Head of Offender Learning, Scottish Prison Service, said the promotion of the arts in custody had helped “motivate formerly reluctant learners”.
“Our success in progressing arts in custody with our learning partners and Koestler Trust, has been key to stimulating engagement and motivating formerly reluctant learners to build confidence and self-belief.”