Long-term readers of this blog may remember that back in 2008 I was grateful recipient of the mentor scheme run by the KoestlerTrust. I was assigned a mentor, Sally Hinchcliffe, an author who kindly travelled across the UK from Scotland to help me improve my writing. I documented the sessions here. It’s thanks to the Koestler Trust and Sally that I now have four books published.
More recently, I was contacted by the Koestler Trust about being a curator for their annual exhibition of prisoner art at the Southbank Centre. I gladly accepted. Last week, I spent a few days at the Koestler Trust location at Wormwood Scrubs prison selecting art to exhibit in my area of the Royal Festival Hall in September at the Southbank Centre.
|These are going to be my bouncers at the exhibition door.|
Out of almost 9,000 entries, I selected 19, mostly portraits. Knowing nothing about art, I chose what appealed to me and was of the highest standard. I’d compare it to when you meet someone, you pretty much know right away whether you like them or not. The theme that evolved organically from my selection is faces. Spending all day gazing at art was like meditating on colour. It was great to take a break from the computer to take up such an unusual challenge.
|The staff were surprised that I picked a dog in a pink feather boa but some of you know me better.|
With eight other curators, all ex-Koestler mentees, I’ll be at the Royal Festival Hall on September 23rd and 24th. The “Chasing Dreams” exhibition is free to the public and lasts until the end of November. If you’re in London around that time, please come and support this wonderful organisation and take a look at the prisoners’ art.
|Fellow curator Daniel with some of his selection|