Insights Ex-offender curates new exhibition at Margate’s Turner Contemporary
01 March 2019

Ex-offender curates new exhibition at Margate’s Turner Contemporary

We Made This

A former prisoner who says art has changed his life, has curated a new exhibition at internationally renowned Turner Contemporary art gallery in Margate.

Paul who is supervised by Kent, Surrey and Sussex Community Rehabilitation Company, part of the Seetec Group, has worked with others on probation to choose a selection of artwork made by ex-offenders for the ‘We Made This’ exhibition.

Having served 13 months in prison for drug-related offences, Paul attributes art with helping him to overcome his addiction by giving him something constructive to do with his spare time. 

He says curating the event has taught him important life skills and felt honoured his probation officer asked him to get involved with the project.

He said: “I am privileged to be given this opportunity. If it wasn’t for art, I would still be taking drugs. Art inspires me. By working on this project, I have learnt how to work as part of a team and to listen to and respect other people’s opinions. Everyone involved in this work was treated equally regardless of their role or background.” 

“I’m so proud to be one of the few people to have curated at the Turner Contemporary. It’s made me think about my future career and helped me think more positively about what I can achieve.”

Senior Probation Officer, Heather Hook, said: “Paul was worried about being on probation. He had heard lots of scare stories about what to expect. The art exhibition has helped to break down these misconceptions and given him the opportunity to be involved in a worthwhile project.

“I feel incredibly fortunate to have worked with him and the others on probation to choose the artworks that will finally go on display.”

The artwork Paul and others chose to go on display at the gallery is from submissions made to the Koestler Trust Awards in 2018. Paul has two pieces of work in the collection.

The ‘We Made This’ exhibition opens on 1 March and closes on 16 May. It is the result of a partnership between Kent, Surrey and Sussex Community Rehabilitation Company, the organisation responsible for supervising and supporting low and medium risk offenders in the region, and the Koestler Trust, the UK’s best-known prisons arts charity.

For further details about the exhibition, see the Koestler Trust website.