Art escapes from the prison walls

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George OÕCallaghan of the Limerick Clare Education and Training Board with Irish Prison Art Education Access Arts Development Officer Tom Shortt at the launch of the Hunt Museum exhibition.

LIMERICK’S Hunt Museum is hosting a unique exhibition of art works by prisoners and newly released inmates until November 24.

The Open Minds @ The Hunt Museum exhibition is curated by Brian Maguire, the well-known Irish artist who has worked with every prison in the country over a number of decades and has been a staunch advocate for art education in prisons.

The Irish Prison Service chose him because of his understanding of the issues around imprisonment, and the huge amount of work he has done with people in custody.

The artwork selected for the exhibition is anonymous, so those who view it won’t know anything about the crimes perpetrated by the person who created it.

George OÕCallaghan of the Limerick Clare Education and Training Board with Irish Prison Art Education Access Arts Development Officer Tom Shortt at the launch of the Hunt Museum exhibition.

According to Brian Maguire, the art is put on public display “as a kind of evidence that those who go behind bars have not disappeared from society completely. Open Minds wants to challenge people to see beyond the person who has been convicted.

“The isolated conditions of the studio are similar to the isolated conditions of the cell. Communication through art, which is a solitary action, is also possible in jail.

“It was a pleasure and privilege to visit these institutions, over a two week period and meet so many prisoners whose work is now shown in this exhibition.”

The work that is exhibited in the Hunt Museum includes art from Limerick Prison, as well as a piece contributed by two local boys, Gearoid and Devlin Hayes, who work with the Limerick City Build project.