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"We Are All Human"

Thursday, November 17th 2016 - RECOOP

 ‘We Are All Human’ was the title of the 2016 annual showcase of arts in partnership between The Koestler Trust and the Southbank Centre. All exhibits were produced by prisoners, prison leavers, secure psychiatric patients, young people from secure children’s homes and immigration detainees.

The exhibition provided a unique and thought-provoking insight into the lives and minds of those prisoners, secure patients and detainees across the UK, who, for a variety of reasons, have had their freedom severely compromised.

Out of the 6,733 pieces submitted, a violin and bow, submitted by Dave, HMP Exeter RECOOP Buddy Support Worker, was chosen for this public exhibition at the Southbank Centre, London.

Liz Ropschitz, RECOOP Buddy and Training Manager, along with Sandra Seldon, RECOOP Coordinator Dorset and Wiltshire, were pleased to accept an invitation to view the exhibition.

Dave had made the model musical instrument from burnt matches, something, we were told by the Koestler staff, the judges had never seen before. They were familiar with match stick modelling, which is a very popular in-cell activity, but the judges particularly admired the effect the burnt matches had on the colour and texture of this piece of art work.

Liz asked Dave what it had meant to him to have his creative talent displayed for public viewing in London: “I made the violin in here just to pass time away and prove to myself that I could create something. Now that I’ve got an Award I’m encouraged to continue to produce models on the out. Koestler has sent me a list of craft fairs where I can sell things I make in the future".

Both Liz and Sandra have encouraged prisoners to submit their work to the Koestler Awards in the past.  The talent and quality of work was astounding!  They shall definitely be encouraging others to creatively express themselves with the view to entering them for a Koestler Award in 2017.

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