Its one thing knowing about the Koestler Trust and seeing some of the work of inmates that the trust supports in catalogues and in exhibitions as I did at the MAC Double take show, but in order to get a real picture of the Trust’s work, the volunteers that make it happen and the wealth of artwork created by inmates I was encouraged to visit the Trust in west london. Car, train, tube and sat nav walk took me Wormwood Scrubs Prison and an unassuming house with the Koestler Arts Centre sign top left. I was met by volunteers and offered a cup of tea and pointed to the ‘facilities’ after my journey. The facilities wall were covered with statements that capture the ethos of the Trust.
I was welcomed by CEO Sally Tayor and Development Director Beth Crosland who had encouraged me to visit at this time as all the entries for the annual show were displayed throughout the house – all 8000 of them! An incredible array of emotionally charged and quality works covered every wall, shelf space, corridor, nook and cranny.
A wonderful testament to the value of the trust to the many inmates that are committed to their art. Paintings, ceramics, sculptures, embroidery, crafts, murals and matchstick art!
With incredible dexterity inmates have created models from matchsticks that belie belief. Such attention to detail and all with moving parts.
People from across the land have submitted works.
My original attraction to nominating the trust was the feeling that the artwork’s captured their creators focus on creating something of beauty, craftsmanship, emotion while being incarcerated.
Expressions that leapt prison walls.
I met so many volunteers including daughters of Sir Hugh Casson, who helped found the Trust in the 1960’s.
They are carrying on their father’s work with their cataloguing of the ceramics submissions – Good Work. As we progressed through the House, floor, by floor each room held new treasures. As we opened the ‘drawing’ door 4 walls of drawing were before us – all with a different story to tell. In the middle of the room was a table of varied objects – These are the ‘recyling awards’. Works created by using only recycleable materials.
A Vase with words – Grayson Perry would be proud – he is in fact a past judge.
And then a quiz question …… what is this beautiful object made from? plasticine? No. Plaster of paris? No. Blue Tack? No. What did you have for breakfast? Cornflakes? No. Porridge ? No. Perhaps you had toast made from …….. Bread. Yes the whole box and its flower petals are fashioned from bread.
Incredible and wonderful. Good luck with the selections and for the national show in September.