Department of Justice WA Arts Coordinator Stuart Peel, Borallon Training and Correctional Centre Cultural Liason Officer Rosie Connors, and Torch CEO Kent Morris at the Indigenous Art Exhibition launch event.
The annual Indigenous Art Exhibition hosted by MAX Solutions has wrapped up for another year.
On display from the 2 to 24 of November at NSW Parliament Fountain Court Gallery, the 2017 exhibition 'Pathways'
showcased works solely from Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander artists affected by Australia's criminal justice system.
For the first time this year, artwork was submitted from prisoners through three arts mentoring programs; Five Bridges' Healing through Arts program, The Torch's Indigenous Arts in Prison program, and Eastern Goldfields Regional Prison's arts education program.
Rosie Connors from Borallon Training and Correctional Centre, where Healing through Arts is delivered, said the program helps prisoners in more ways than one.
"The program ticks a lot of boxes, but it's the healing that can't be measured," she said.
"We can't measure the internal healing and connection to culture, but it allows them to escape their past and look to a brighter future."
"The artists were overwhelmed. One of the guys said 'who could imagine that us little black fellas have art at Parliament House?'"
The Torch CEO Kent Morris was thrilled with the program and work developed by the prisoners, and knows the importance of connection to culture.
"My father was removed from my family, so I grew up not knowing about my heritage or culture and nearly landed myself in jail. It was my connection to culture that saved me in the end."
"I knew the Indigenous Arts in Prison program needed to be built on cultural resources, and the art will come from that. Many in the program have found pathways into employment and are breaking the cycle."
A number of positive outcomes have come from prisoner participation in art mentoring support programs, including a decrease in reoffending behaviour, improvement of mental health and a reconnection to community.
For any enquiries regarding the purchase of artwork, please contact Exhibition Manager Holly Riding at Holly.Riding@maxsolutions.com.au
or call 07 3727 1394.