Beauty behind bars: This exhibition shows the work of imprisoned First Nations artists

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Beauty behind bars: This exhibition shows the work of imprisoned First Nations artists

Confined 14

Hosted by The Torch, Confined 14 gives offenders and ex-offenders a chance to display their creative work.

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders only make up under four per cent of Australia’s national population – but the group makes up around 32 per cent of those currently imprisoned in the country. This inequality is what The Torch community project seeks to address since its foundation in 2011.

The organisation is focused on bringing arts and culture support to First Nations artists who have been wrapped up in the Victorian prison system. In May, they’ll be hosting their 14th annual Confined exhibition, which allows these artists to feature and sell their works to the public – some for the first time in their lives.

Confined 14

  • The art exhibition features the works of 390 artists who have or are currently doing time in the Victorian prison system
  • It will run at the Glen Eira City Council Gallery from May 5 to June 4
  • All profits go directly to the artists

Explore Melbourne’s latest arts and stage news, features, festivals, interviews and reviews here.

The exhibition is on from May 5 to June 4 at the Glen Eira City Council Gallery and will feature over 400 works created by 390 artists who art currently in prison or who have been recently released. 100 per cent of the profits from sales goes directly to the creators.


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“The exhibition is a powerful reflection of the over-representation of First Nations Australians in our criminal justice system and highlights the need for change,” wrote The Torch in a statement.

For visitors, the exhibition is an illuminating experience that draws emotional connections between those who are imprisoned with those who are free.

As well as building confidence and raising funds for the artists, it also serves as a reminder of the injustices that remain in this country.

“When we’re in prison, there’s not much you can do, but this program lets the world see what you’re doing, so that we’re not forgotten. It passes the time, keeps me connected to our culture, and the way to stay connected is through our art and the stories behind them,” Wergaia and Wotjobaluk film writer and former super heavy weight world champion Robby Wirramanda told The Torch in 2016.

To visit Confined 14, running May 5 to June 4, head here