Another Me is the 12th exhibition by Koestler Arts of artworks produced by prison detainees, secure patients and ex-offenders. The exhibition is hosted on Level 1 of the Royal Festival Hall at the Southbank Centre, runs until 3rd November 2019, and is curated by the musician Soweto Kinch.
The exhibition comprises over 150 artworks, including paintings, sculpture, poetry, photography, music and video.
Enough of the stats, let’s look at the art.
Naturally enough, many of the pieces on display reflect prison themes, whether it be in the subject matter or the materials used for construction. In many instances, there is a wry humour at work, whether it is turning Holloway Prison into a Monopoly-style board game, creating a homeless shelter out of Heineken wrappings, or constructing a model prison officer out of origami.
Some works reveal the influence of established artistic masterpieces, be it a reimagining of Andy Warhol’s Campbell’s Soup Can or Picasso’s The Weeping Woman. We found the caption of Innocent Man particularly poignant and appropriate to the image: “The juxtaposition of who I am against who I want to be.”
Overall, we found the exhibition a life-affirming expression of the creative potential: a potential so often locked up, not just within the physical confines of a prison, but in every individual who has yet to discover their own particular form of self-expression.
However, amidst all the tremendous expressions of inventiveness, there was one artwork to which we were continually drawn back.
Nitrouonites: Future Fossils by Erika was a superb combination of aesthetic excellence and ironic humour.
It displayed sixteen nitrous oxide canisters in various degrees of decay, each meticulously labelled and catalogued, like an exhibit of the most precious ancient ammonites in the Galerie de Paléontologie et d’Anatomie comparée in Paris.
It was with superb good fortune then, as we departed the exhibition that, there, before us, on the pavement outside the Southbank Centre, we stumbled upon our own Nitrouonite. We have christened it SYNCHRONITE. 2019-10-06-SE1 8XX.
© Os Bros
Os Bros don’t need any hippy crack to enjoy Another Me.