Insights from Inside

Insidean exhibition at the Royal Festival Hall, gathers art from prisoners’ entries for the Koestler Awards for works of art by people in the UK’s criminal justice system. For this year’s awards participants were asked to respond to the theme Inside, set by the curator of the exhibition, Antony Gormley.

When I worked as a chaplain in a maximum security prison I became aware that several  insights of prisoners, given through word and through works of art, spoke directly to the whole human condition. I was reminded of this when viewing this exhibition.

Here are reproductions of three works of art from the exhibition, the last two with the prisoner’s comment about their work.

Fr Ian

The Woodland Beyond

A striking watercolour from HMP Channings Wood, which emphasises the blandness of prison life, and the (perhaps slight) hope that seeing beyond the prison can bring.

Writing Home

‘My sister sent me 3 little watercolour papers every couple of months and I used those things thoughtfully… every bit is cathartic and helps to confront the guilt of letting loved ones down. Being able to pour out one’s feelings is completely invaluable.”

Cornflower Blue

‘I find embroidering incredibly relaxing and it relieves my stress. While everything around me turns to rubble I can remain calm.’


About stchrysostoms

St Chrysostom’s is an Anglican (Church of England) parish church in Manchester, UK. We’re an inclusive, diverse and welcoming faith community rejoicing in our Anglo Catholic tradition, where people of many differing backgrounds make friends. Find our Facebook group at
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