Two miniature ships created from garbage and genius using empty instant noodle containers, fibres and coffee filters, and painted with a mixture of toothpaste and coffee; a red and blue puzzle drawing with the hidden message: “Jail isn’t for young people so stay out of trouble,” as well as a bold depiction of a wolf howling at a full moon are just a few examples of inmates’ art in the exhibition “The Artist Inside: Removing Barriers through Art.” The exhibition showcases the art projects of offenders in correctional centres throughout the province and includes: 49 framed pieces, four woodcraft pieces, one drum, two pieces of found art, two – 3D items, and a beautiful pair of moccasins.
When Assistant Deputy Minister, Correctional Services, Dr. Curtis Clarke proposed inmate drawings be displayed in his office, he was astounded by the artwork submitted. The idea to have a public exhibition of inmate art was put into motion. The Nina Haggerty Centre for the Arts enthusiastically agreed to host the exhibition and Synergy Inmate Phone Solutions sponsored the project. The offender art gallery project team was implemented and led by the ADM, Dr. Curtis Clarke and Executive Assistant Kathryn Wheaton, and included Corrections staff from centres across the province. Wendy Hollo, Director of the Nina Haggerty Centre for the Arts and staff from the Centre were also integral to the success of the project.
“Most importantly,” says ADM Clarke, “It is the inmates that we need to thank for this exhibition. They have channelled their creative energy into this work and we hope they will pursue their art when they are released back into the community.”
The exhibition is open to the public and runs to October 30. View more inmate art on the Alberta Corrections Facebook page.