I have recently visited, finally, an exhibition at the Southbank centre in London called ‘Art by Offenders, Secure Patients and Detainees’.
I highly recommend it.
In Russian language, there is a saying which literally translated means something like ‘Never say never to begging or prison’. Everything can happen, sometimes by an unfortunate twist of fate. Fortunes may turn. As a matter of fact, a good friend of mine has been recently released from jail where she was for 5 long dark years, after being accused wrongly.
A similar story to the founder of the Koestler trust, who organised the exhibition – he was a political detainee at some point in history.
Mental health issues are no less probable – I am not sure what are the chances of becoming a secure patient but I know that human mind is a damn fragile contraption.
And I was blown away and humbled by what I saw at the exhibition. There is the theme of forgiveness, redemption, searching for freedom, for escape. The strength of human spirit and the power of hope are in front of the visitor’s very eyes. It’s all there as well as impressive creativity bursting with colours and textures and zest for life.
It reminds you that we are all only human and that there is always hope.
You have to see it.
My top 3 favourite works which I enclose below are a poem, a painting by a secure patient called Lost Fruit (done on lined notepad sheets connected by duct tape, in markers! drawb in small circles!), and a small installation called Garden of Eden.