The young inmates dedicated time to express art in a therapeutic manner. With Kieran and Lewis to assist with materials and equipment for the young artists, creative freedom was in the palm of their hands as they seemed eager to explore the longing for what, for some, they seemed timid about at first. However by the first session it came to everybody’s realisation that these young men had bundles of potential and it did not seem fitting if we kept it behind bars.
Young inmates who took part in the sessions in the beginning battled the rush of self-consciousness in their work as they would often scrunch paper up midway and tend to dismiss the compliments given by project supervisors. However, the majority overcame the fear of presenting their ideas on paper.
One individual in particular was able to arrange for his tag to be lifted for the evening in order to attend the private view with his mum, dad and brother. Such devotion to witness success was admirable for both the project workers and visitors. Smiles beamed through the evening and it was definitely a proud moment for the young artist.
As many of them are still serving their sentences they were not able to see the exhibition themselves, so guests that attended the exhibition here at Soft Touch wrote down their comments giving their feedback about the artwork. Visitors had the ability to comment directly to the young artists for us to take back to the prisons to show what people thought of their work.
Carole Robson, service manager for prison healthcare for LPT, said: “The artwork the individuals have created within the prison environment has been a wonderful way of self-expression during a particularly challenging time. It is truly wonderful that a number of agencies worked together to ensure this work could take place and be displayed.”
One of the Glen Parva artists told guests at a showcase of the work last year: “This gave me a way to express myself and I’d say to anyone with creative force inside them that I have first-hand experience of how well it worked.”
The work created at Leicester Prison was showcased in a one-day exhibition in the prison chapel in March. One of the participants commented: “The art workshops were something to look forward to. They gave me self-belief and confidence to do something good with my time.”
This sort of exhibition is what Soft Touch is all about. The management behind keeping the young artists creatively sane to cope with substance misuse or mental health issues is an honour to us and gives us such pride in giving those with disadvantages a chance to be socially interactive and creative in a relaxed environment.
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