Saturday, June 11, 2022
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Art from Inside

Art from Inside is an annual competition and exhibition encouraging creative expression from current and former inmates. Prison Fellowship runs art programs like Art from Inside in 26 countries around the world. Each year, in Australia, inmates and ex-inmates are invited to participate in Art from Inside by producing artworks according to a given theme. 2013’s theme was True Freedom.

Prison Fellowship is a national volunteer movement that is part of a worldwide organisation. Bringing hope to those in our Australian prisons for over 30 years, we have a solid understanding of the prison sector and of the deep needs of prisoners and their families. Prison Fellowship facilitates the sale of artworks on behalf of the exhibiting artists and does not keep any portion of the sales funds.

'The Game' by Glenn (Image: Supplied)
‘The Game’ by Glenn (Image: Supplied)

First Prize Applied Art – paint, cardboard, recycled bits

“The Game” by Glenn (Cooma Correctional Centre)

“Stand fast therefore in the liberty by which Christ has made us free and do not be entangled again with a yoke of bondage” (Galatians 5:1). Freedom is a place found, not given. In my heart I have found my freedom.

First Prize Drawing – graphite on paper

“Nelson Mandela” by Paddy (Alexander Maconochie Centre)

I decided to do a portrait of Nelson Mandela because I find it fascinating how despite being unfairly incarcerated for decades at the hands of a brutal and oppressive regime, he still maintained that in fact he was “free”. When I first learnt the criteria for this competition I instantly knew that I wanted to enter a portrait of him.

Through great personal strength and strong Christian faith Nelson Mandela survived his ordeal intact, he kept on selflessly fighting for the change he knew his country so badly needed. Despite what he went through, Nelson Mandela is quoted as saying, “They have taken everything I have in this world, but they cannot take my freedom. For to be free is not merely to cast off one’s chains, but to live in a way that respects and enhances the freedom of others”.

Unlike Nelson Mandela, I actually committed crimes and as a result have spent over half my adult life in gaol. I used to look for every way possible to remain free or gain freedom (or my understanding of it at the time), by whatever means available.

During my last sentence I met a man who happened to be a Christian. When he first talked about God around me I felt very uncomfortable. I felt like he was trying to get me to buy something off him that I didn’t really need when in actual fact (as I slowly came to realise) he was trying to give me something that had no cost yet was priceless and I really did need.

I look at my life and compare myself to Nelson Mandela and realise that I have every opportunity still available to me. My life is a holiday camp compared to his. He inspires me to try and help others experience “true freedom” that is only felt inside a person’s heart and is immune to all negative worldly circumstances.

'Nelson Mandela' by Paddy (Image: Supplied)
‘Nelson Mandela’ by Paddy (Image: Supplied)



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