Prodigal Arts exhibition showcases prisoners artwork

September 24 2019
Prodigal Arts exhibition showcases prisoners artwork

An exhibition featuring high quality artwork for sale, produced by prisoners and ex-offenders from HMP Leyhill Prison, will be on display at Alchemy 198, Gloucester Rd BS7 8NU from 16 - 30 September.

The exhibition title and theme is ‘Transformation’. Using different media and styles the artists were challenged to depict transformation and what change might look like when they are released, life as they knew it restored, hope and the future returned and a better or changed ‘person’ gets the opportunity to grow and have a new life.

Prodigal Arts is a charity that provides opportunities for talented prisoners and ex-offenders to produce and sell artwork created in their own voluntary time as part of their ongoing rehabilitation. The aim of Prodigal Arts is to help people in prison and post-release 'unlock' their creative potential, 'setting free' a positive sense of individual achievement and self-worth which aims to contribute to reducing the chances of re-offending.

 Artist Davey says: “Knowing that someone wants to buy my artwork has had a profound effect on my self esteem and has given me a new purpose when I’m released, particularly as I will be retired and in ill health. It has also given me a new found confidence to experiment with new ideas and mediums.”

 Another artist taking part in the scheme is John who says: “Attending the Prodigal Arts sessions has had a positive effect on my self-esteem, particularly when receiving feedback from people on my artwork which is usually positive and makes me feel like  I can actually do something well and worthwhile.”

Alchemy 198 owner Sarah Thorp also owns Room 212 and plans to show some of the artwork from the exhibition in the gallery's window display. Sarah says: 'I'm happy to be able to promote Prodigal Arts and the creative support they offer prisoners.

 “We often forget that we have Horfield Prison right on our doorstep and that the inmates will be out one day, trying to create new lives.

 “However, with Climate Emergency we all have to think about life transformation in a changing world. I'm trying to make Room 212 Window displays more thought provoking. We need beautiful things in our lives but we also need to care about our society and the world around us.”

 All artwork on display is available to purchase; 5% goes to Victim Support after the cost of sales, then 60% goes back into Prodigal Arts to continue the work and 40% from each sale goes to the artist available on release. The percentage is reversed with released artists who receive 60% with 40% going to Prodigal Arts.

The exhibition will be open in the week on Tuesdays - Fridays from 5pm – 11.45pm and on Saturdays from 2pm – 12.30am. For more information see www.alchemy198.co.uk and www.prodigalarts.org