Jail’s artful prisoners ...

A painting by an inmate of Hindley Prison
A painting by an inmate of Hindley Prison

YOUNG offenders at a Wigan prison have had paintings and poems accepted for a regional showcase of art behind bars.

Inmates at Hindley Young Offenders Institution have produced a painting and a poem included in Safety Net of Sky, an exhibition of art by prisoners, people on probation and in secure hospitals and children’s homes which is being displayed in Liverpool.

The two pieces, which have both been submitted anonymously, are among the work from across the North West for the exhibition, which has been curated by young offenders from Liverpool and organised by the Koestler Trust, an organisation which promotes prisoners’ art.

One of the pieces from Hindley is Juvenile Survival, a rhyming poem offering an outsider a survival guide to living life in a young offenders’ institution and inviting people to look beyond some of the stereotypes surrounding prisoners.

The other Hindley inmate included in the exhibition produced Picnic: a large painting in acrylics depicting several bottles, one adorned with a spider, on a chequered surface with a red wall behind them.

Jennie Moffett, team leader of Hindley’s personal and social development curriculum, said: “I thought the poem was a really good reflection of how some of the lads we work with must feel, and the painting was beautiful with vibrant textures and colours.

“Our lads who do the art courses spend around three hours a day working with the tutors, doing 30-hour modules for City and Guild art qualifications, and some of the work which comes out of our workshop and classroom is absolutely amazing.

“The tutors do a great job of inspiring them. Some of the lads are reluctant to engage with the art courses at first because they haven’t done very well at school and come here with negative views of education, but through the tutors they see how art can be a positive thing which reflects the things which mean a lot to them. It also helps to show them they do have skills and talents which they can develop after release and don’t have to resort to crime as a way of life.”

The Safety Net of Sky exhibition opened on March 30 and runs until May 27 at the World Museum in Liverpool.