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Their Inside- My Inside

Artistic expressions can take any of us to unlimited imagination. I am keen on an impact of arts on offenders and the Koestler Trust is the organisation which brings the collaboration of arts and an expression by offenders. This is my third visit to the exhibition taking place at the Southbank Centre, London. The theme of this year is “INSIDE” and my first impression of the exhibition was that the exhibition became simpler and darker in comparison to the last two years’ artistic works. I wonder the theme has made a major change in the artistic expressions by the offenders.

There are a few things that the Koestler Trust brings to our attention regarding the situation that offenders face in England and Wales;

  • 26% of women and 16% of men had received treatment for a mental health problem in the year before custody.

  • There are 36,440 self-harm incidents reported in the year to June 2016- a 52% rise in two years.

  • 44% of adults are reconvicted within a year of release.

  • The number of under 18 in custody has fallen by 70% in the last decade.

There are paintings, sculptures, poetry and film by offenders who are called here “artists”. There is a respect for each of them when I hear them being called “artists”. Yes, indeed, you can discover their buried talents, thoughts, various complicated emotions and more. The artworks which I saw seem mostly, I would say, dark and depressing, but with a maximum range of imagination. One of the expressions and words by the offenders that struck me was that their guilty feeling of having letting their loved ones down. I felt as if I could feel and hear the scream and cries of the offenders through their brilliant works. Most offenders are said to be allowed to be outside only for half an hour.

I am not supporting what they have done in the past, but appreciate that they have come to express inner feelings. For many including myself, this is not easy; we often brush off what we feel inside and cover it up for example, by changing topics. The artworks felt to me very honest and real among the offenders. In this sense, I respect this exhibition and see it as one kind. It is challenging to see beyond their expressions in canvases, objects and voices. I assume their struggles including their past, conflicted emotions and other things in them are still being with them, even after they complete the artworks. Some of the offenders are trapped in a vicious cycle of crimes and mental health problems. I wonder if these artworks can liberate their minds and ease their pains they might have in their “inside”.

From the year of 2018, I will be starting small volunteer work as a mentor in a prison in London, under supervision of Trailblazer. I will be working with a youth offender (aged between 18 and 25) for a year to help him transit from the prison to a community. I am excited about this opportunity as well as I have been wondering HOW I can be a real help. I have been trying to find a reason why I want to work with offenders, and have not found a convincing reason for myself. There is something in a prison that drives me curious and almost attractive to work with offenders. I wonder if I also would want to find out my “INSIDE” through people trapped inside of the prisons. One thing I know through my experience is that some of the offenders whom I worked with can be completely free from crimes and become part of the society. They need help to be pull themselves out of the vicious cycle. So, I am hoping to be one of their help.

All the artworks by the Koestler Trust are on sale; the profits will be divided between the artist (50%), victim support (25%) and the Koestler Trust (25%).



アートによる表現は無限の想像へと私たちを連れて行く。私はアートが受刑者にもたらす影響について興味があり、ケスラートラスト(the Koestler Trust)はアートと受刑者による表現のコラボレーションを図っている。今回ロンドンのサウスバンクセンターで行われたこのエキシビションに足を運ぶのは3回目となる。今年のテーマは、“インサイド”(INSIDE)であり、私の最初のエキシビションの印象は、過去2年間の作品に比べて、全体的にエキシビション自体がシンプルかつ、暗い感じがしたことだ。テーマ自体が作風に影響を及ぼしたのだろうか。


  • 拘束前に女性では26%、男性では16%が精神疾患に関する治療を受けている。

  • 2016年6月の時点で、36,440もの自傷行為に関する件数があり、過去2年間で52%も増えたとされている。

  • 44%の大人が1年以内に再犯に至っている。

  • 過去10年間で18歳未満の犯罪率は70%減っている。





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