Published on 20th December 2012
An exhibition of work by detainees in the art programme run for Vanuatu Correctional Services by VSA volunteer Keith was a huge success, with some of the work completely sold out.
The exhibition, which ran in Port Vila from December 4 to 13, featured paintings, woodwork and painted wooden fish made by detainees involved in the Kalabus Arts programme at the local men’s and women’s low-risk prisons.
Keith organised the exhibition with his wife (and fellow VSA volunteer) Dianne Hambrook, who is working as a graphic design and marketing adviser with the Correctional Services.
According to Dianne, sales at the exhibition well exceeded expectations.
“We sold 25 paintings (including one of the two that were on ‘silent auction’), 50 calendars and over 300 greeting cards, as well as all the fish and mobiles,” she says.
Those who bought work included the New Zealand deputy high commissioner Suzannah Jessop, the editor of local bi-monthly magazine Island Life, and a local French artist.
Dianne says many Ni-Vanuatu also attended the exhibition, which has helped raise awareness about the work being done by Correctional Services.
Most of the detainees with work in the exhibition have now been released, and they are allowed to keep the money they have made from selling their work.
Dianne says the most popular section of the exhibition was the photo gallery. This showed various aspects of the rehabilitation programmes and community work done by detainees in Correctional Centres.
“People were fascinated by the pictures and it worked well as a starting point for discussion.”
VSA has been involved with the art programme for three years. It is one of several rehabilitation programmes run in Port Vila’s correctional centres. It aims to give detainees a sense of pride and help them develop skills they can use when they are released.