Prisoner artwork goes on show

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A painting by David Ashbrook. Pic © Chloe Tomkins JMU Journalism

An exhibition displaying artwork created by prisoners has opened at St Paul’s Church in Tranmere, Rock Ferry.

The display shows more than 40 individual pieces of art produced by inmates at HMP Styal and HMP Thorn Cross, Cheshire.

Entitled ‘Journey into Light’, the aim of the exhibition organisers, the Criminal Justice Group, is to “demonstrate to visitors that behind every prisoner’s conviction and sentence is a personal story of love, hope and loss”.

The showcase is inspired by the work of David Ashbrook, who discovered his gift for painting whilst serving a life sentence.

The works on display focus on issues such as domestic abuse, addiction, homelessness and forgiveness. It aims to show prisoners in a more positive light and to help rehabilitate them during their time behind bars.

Elaine Newall, a parishioner at the church told JMU Journalism: “We’ve had a really good response for the exhibition from local people who live in the area and come to this church.

“The artwork is so thought-provoking and the range of talent displayed is exceptional. It makes you think that not all people serving time in prison are bad people and we all make mistakes.”

Twitter: Chloe Tomkins

The exhibition was first launched at Chester Cathedral in October 2018, and will be hosted by churches in Cheshire and Merseyside until October 2019.

The Revd Jane Parry at St Paul’s said: “Prisoners are often viewed as ‘the other’ yet they live in our midst, are a part of our communities and contribute to our societies.

“The Bible has much to say about the plight of prisoners and the Christian faith recognises that every person is made in the image of God and is valued despite our individual mistakes and regrets.

“The Journey into Light exhibition allows us the opportunity to better understand the lived experiences of prisoners in Cheshire.”

For more information on the exhibit and other venues visit the website here.

YouTube: Diocese of Chester