[by Prue Bassett]
Confined 10 celebrating 10 years of exhibiting artworks by indigenous artists
The Torch’s Indigenous Arts in Prisons and Community Program marks its 10th anniversary with Confined 10 - its largest exhibition to date, featuring in excess of 200 artworks from over 200 artists at St Kilda’s Carlisle Street Arts Space, St Kilda Town Hall from 30 January – 27 February 2019.
This year, the Victorian government committed $2.206 million dollars to the program for the next three years - close to a 200% funding increase for the not for profit organisation.
"The Torch program is growing in size and scope each year. It’s success and grass roots no nonsense approach based on Indigenous knowledge and support systems, attracted the increase in funding. This enables The Torch to sustain and develop the program and to keep achieving positive outcomes in a complex and difficult area of Indigenous disadvantage," said The Torch CEO, Kent Morris.
The Torch CEO Kent Morris and post release artist Ray Trapline. Image: supplied
Set within the context of the Victorian Aboriginal Justice Agreement, the Indigenous Arts in Prison and Community Program focuses on the role that culture and cultural identity plays in the rehabilitation of Indigenous community members who are incarcerated. It aims to support Indigenous offenders and ex-offenders with an opportunity to connect with the community and to promote the practice of culture in rehabilitation.
The beautiful artworks are an expression of resilience, strength, the importance of cultural connection and the hope of a better future from Indigenous artists who are currently in prison or who have been recently released from incarceration.
In celebration of 10 years, The Torch recently released a hard cover book INDIGENOUS ARTISTS – A Selection of the Best - The Torch Collection. The strength of artwork created through the program is featured across 152 pages showcasing 126 artworks from 77 men and women in the program.
The exhibitions provide income to the artists with 100% of the sales going to the artist. Post release participants receive the full sale value of their artwork directly whilst the proceeds for artists still in prison are held in trust by Corrections Victoria until release.
The Torch employed two men and a woman from the program in 2018, bringing the total number of staff who have come through the program to four. Three have been employed as Indigenous Arts Officers and one in an Administrative Assistant role. Amongst them is The Torch program participant, Sean Miller who has been employed as an Indigenous Arts Officer in Prisons, delivering The Torch program into seven correctional facilities in Victoria. Sean was a participant of The Torch In-Prisons program from 2011 – 2016 and a member of the In-Community program from 2016 – 2018. Sean successfully completed his parole in 2018 and was employed by The Torch. Sean's appointment is an exciting milestone for the organisation with him being the first program participant to go back into the prison system, to deliver the in-prisons program.
The inaugural Confined exhibition showcased artworks from 18 artists, expanded to 62 artists in 2013, 145 in 2017 and this year the collection showcases the works of over 200 artists. Since the introduction of the Aboriginal Arts Policy Model in 2016, $700,000 worth of artworks have been sold and licensed, with Confined artworks adorning the walls of the Victorian Ombudsman’s new office building and collected by the NGV, Museum Victoria, Shepparton Art Museum and a range of government, corporate and private buyers in Australia and overseas.
EVENT DETAILS: CONFINED 10
Dates: Wed 30 January - Wed 27 February 2019
Time: Mon, Tues, Wed, Fri8:30am -5pm. Thurs 8:30am – 7pm. Sat 12pm - 4pm
Ofﬁcial launch: Thurs 31 Jan 2019 6.00pm - 8.00pm
Venue: Carlisle Street Arts Space, St Kilda Town Hall, 99A Carlisle Street, St Kilda
Confined 10 artworks are available for purchase at the exhibition or online and can be shipped worldwide.
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