For its summer exhibition the ICA has organised a show of art by prisoners and others in confinement in Britain, including inmates at young offender institutions, high-security psychiatric hospitals, secure units and immigration removal centres, as well as people supervised by probation and youth offending teams. All of the work has been made in the last year, and it includes painting, sculpture, drawing, ceramics, textiles and other media.
The work has been gathered together for the Koestler Awards Scheme, an annual competition which promotes creativity across the criminal justice system and received over 3100 entries in the art and design categories this year. The ICA exhibition has been specially selected from these submissions by Zelda Cheatle (photography consultant and Koestler trustee), Grayson Perry (artist), Dr Mike Phillips (author and curator, Tate) and Mark Sladen (director of exhibitions, ICA).
The Koestler Trust was founded by the writer Arthur Koestler in 1962 to support the creation of art in prisons, and has subsequently developed a unique role that is recognised across the criminal justice system. This is the first year that works from the awards scheme will be shown in a major public institution and it is also the first time that some of the work will be exhibited under the artists' own names. Insider Art offers an important insight into both the vibrant artistic culture within the criminal justice system and the work of the Koestler Trust in fostering it.
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