Exhibition gives inmates chance to harness talents
A REFERENDUM on whether the Northern Territory should become Australia’s seventh state is likely to fail for the same reasons it did in 1998, a former MP says.
Chief Minister Adam Giles raised the issue at the COAG meeting this week and it has been favourably received by other leaders. A referendum has been proposed to be held in 2018 on the 40th anniversary of self- government.
But Ken Parish, a law lecturer at Charles Darwin University and a former Labor member of the Legislative Assembly, says Territorians, especially Aborigines, hold many concerns that have not been addressed since the previous referendum. A UNIQUE art exhibition raised more than $ 2500 for charity within one hour of opening to the public.
Nine of the 24 paintings, created by prisoners at the Townsville Correctional Centre, were bought by politicians, prison wardens, the media and members of the public.
The money will go to charities Beyond Blue and Prison Fellowship Australia.
Prison chaplain Reverend Rosemary Dunn said it was the second time an exhibition of prisoners’ works had been held at St James Cathedral. She said about $ 2500 was raised for the Mount Isa Neighbourhood Centre last year.
to choose the charity and they chose one that could help others,” Rev Dunn said. “Mental illness is also a substantial problem in the prison system.”
The prisoners reflected on NAIDOC Week when creating their works, some of which could easily rival those hanging in art galleries.
“There is a huge amount of talent shown here and I think that if these prisoners can find some encouragement ... they may be able to draw on that upon their release,” Rev Dunn said.
“Many come from dysfunctional backgrounds, have struggled with employment or addictions and mental illness. But some have amazing talents that, if they can harness them, could really put them on the right track.” Townsville Corrections Complex general manager Jon Francis- Jones said about 70 works were produced by the prisoners, with 24 pieces chosen for the exhibition. Some of the prisoners are serving time for serious crimes while others are behind bars for petty offences.
“The men and women who have produced these works invested a lot of time to create them and to have them possibly sold for a good cause is a great thing,” he said.
“We are a correctional centre and our goal is to correct behaviour and we do that by doing rehabilitative programs, understanding why they are with us and equipping them to make better choices.” Returning Home runs until August 2.
IMPRESSIVE ART: Townsville Correctional Complex general manager Jon Francis- Jones and prison chaplain Rosemary Dunn with a piece featured in Returning Home.