Liberation Prison Project: Prison Art in all its forms

Western Sydney University is pleased to present Liberation Prison Project - an exhibition featuring 85 original artworks by people serving custodial sentences in Australia and around the world.

The exhibition – opening this week at the University’s Margaret Whitlam Galleries – features works from Liberation Prison Project students in Australia, Germany, New Zealand, Thailand, the United States of America and Zambia.

Artworks are comprised of many styles of art – created with minimal prison supplies. There are line drawings, cartoons, tattoo study pieces, collage and poetry. A common theme of wildlife, birds and butterflies runs through the artwork. It is imagery enigmatic of the struggle of freedom within the prison walls.

Now a worldwide project the Liberation Prison Project has branches in England, France, Germany, Italy, Mexico, Mongolia, New Zealand and the United States of America. It was started in 1996 by Australian Buddhist Nun, Ven. Robina Courtin.

The project receives letters from more than 1600 prisoners every year seeking support to transform their lives. Every single letter receives a response, an important sign of support according to Ven. Robina.

“Our aim isn’t to make people Buddhists; it’s to help them develop their human potential.  As Lama Yeshe would say, human beings do have power; we have the power to change our lifestyles, change our attitudes, change our habits.” Ven. Robina says.

Liberation Prison Project Student James says, “I just got a pencil with no eraser and a few pieces of paper today. I got lucky to get them. Everything costs money and I have none.” There are many stories like James’ told throughout this exhibition.

Coinciding with the exhibition’s launch, there will full program of talks and presentations featuring; a welcome from Ven. Thubten Chökyi, Buddhist Nun and Director of Liberation Prison Project, a poetry reading by award winning poets Robert Adamson and Jennifer Maiden and the exhibition will be officially opened by Juno Gemes, celebrated Australian photographer and artist with a focus on social justice.  There will be a screening of the inspiring film The Dhamma Brothers which documents the stories of a group of prison inmates who enter into an intensive 10 day silent meditation program following the film will be a Q&A discussing the benefits of meditation in prison.

For further information, please visit the Margaret Whitlam Galleries website.

Exhibition details
What: Liberation Prison Project
When: 10 February – 14 April 2018  (Launch event to run from 10am – 4pm on 10 February)
Where: Female Orphan School Cnr James Ruse Dr and Victoria Rd, Rydalmere NSW 2116


7 February 2018

Kathryn Bannon, Media Officer