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Unique prisoner artwork on show at Aboriginal art exhibition

Published: 12 Apr 2019

A unique mixed media piece created by an Acacia Prison inmate will be unveiled at the To Be Continued exhibition in Fremantle this week. Opening on April 12 at the Fremantle Arts Centre, the exhibition features contemporary works from Aboriginal artists across Western Australia.
The artist, a Wadjari man, completed the piece as part of the prison’s Justice and Equity Through Art (JETA) program which is delivered in partnership with Curtin University. The program, designed specifically for incarcerated prisoners, forms part of the prison’s reducing reoffending strategy and provides a pathway for prisoners to complete a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree. Fourteen prisoners are currently enrolled in the program.

The mixed media artwork incorporates digital art and paint on canvas and explores the intricacies of the Aboriginal art trade. The inmate, now in the final semester of his undergraduate degree, has been invited by Curtin University to undertake a postgraduate Honours degree.

Acacia Prison Head of Care and Wellbeing Dawn Rodgers says the program supports prisoner rehabilitation through education and skills-building.

“Education is a core part of our reducing reoffending strategy and this program is important because it not only teaches the prisoners new skills, but it provides a pathway for them post-release.”

“To be able to work towards a tertiary qualification, when many of the men have been disengaged from education in earlier life, is a big achievement. It gives them something to focus on helps them to achieve employment on release.”

To Be Continued opens on 12 April and runs daily through to 1 June at the Fremantle Arts Centre.