PRISONERS will join the artists taking part in this year’s Artweeks festival as work from Bullingdon inmates goes on display.

For 12 months, artist Sarah Moncrieff has been working with inmates to allow them the creative space which they would not otherwise get while in prison.

The various impressions and paintings created by inmates now decorate the halls of HMP Bullingdon’s visitors centre and is open to the public next month.

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The Woodstock artist said: “I used to be a solicitor - although I was always an artist inside and drew and painted whenever I could - and when I was practising law, I specialised in mental health law.

“I had clients in HMP Bullingdon and Broadmoor psychiatric hospital for example, both of which are secure units, and so I was very aware of what life in these settings was like and that the art provision in prisons is fairly minimal.”

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Ms Moncrieff has staged the Inside Spaces exhibition with inmates as part of her charity work having set up Time For Art - providing art sessions for groups of people denied access to creativity in daily life.

She added: “It’s been a fascinating project – memorable and moving.

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“Many people in prison have had very difficult lives – it’s not all black and white.

“It was touching to see how within the group the participants offered so much support and encouragement to one another.”

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The Inside Spaces exhibition includes a host of paintings from inmates tasked with taking inspiration from their surroundings.

The muse has amounted to a number of pieces looking at the interior of the prison itself, to the imaginative landscapes and images from inside their own minds.

One painting shows a delicate shell in rich reds and golds, the unwrapping spiral a metaphor for the process of how art encourages people to open up.

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Another pair of artworks show a woman with wild blue hair and in the second her locks flow like the sea with miniature surfers riding the waves.

Ms Moncrieff said the exhibition has been ‘an insightful reminder of the places that thoughts reach from inside - the world outside, holidays and happier times’.

She added: “There’s a tangible sense of longing in some subject choices: whilst some residents depict their everyday view of the inside of the prison, others painted the building’s exterior, working from photographs as it’s a view that they’ll only see as they leave.

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“There’s even one drawing of a dog waiting for one man beyond the walls.”

The leading artist has also included some of her own piece in the exhibition choosing to paint spaces people often ignore in daily life.

This includes Cowley’s Mini Factory, Greatmoor Energy from Waste plant and the Culham Centre.

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She said: “I chose to keep the paintings free of figures to convey the loneliness of the long corridors and it was a real challenge to balance the reality which is pretty bleak in the cold light of day with the hope for the future.”

The exhibition will run from May 18 to 23.

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