Published on 7th November 2011
Eight paintings by detainees at Vanuatu’s Stade Correctional Centre have been sold in the last few months, and more paintings are now on display at the Correctional Services office in Port Vila in a bid to increase sales.
The painters are all members of “Mr Keith’s” art class, run by VSA volunteer Keith Hambrook who is working as an art adviser with Vanuatu’s Department of Corrections.
Money raised from selling the paintings will be used to buy materials for the art programme, which operates at both the men’s and women’s low-risk correctional centres.
The paintings are painted using housepaint on plywood, then varnished and framed. None of the artists have any formal training but with plenty of encouragement and enough materials they produce impressive results.
“They choose the subject matter and I’m amazed at the technical competence that they achieve using house paint and $2 shop paintbrushes,” says Keith.
Painted wooden fish made by detainees at the local women’s prison are also on display at the administration office, as well as carvings produced by men at Stade.
“It looks quite astonishing.”
Keith is now producing a 2012 calendar featuring the paintings.