Outside the Box - redemption in the arts
The ‘Out of the Box’ collection of artwork had a strong focus on mental health and well-being
The ‘Out of the Box’ exhibition held at Studio One Toi Tū in Ponsonby, Auckland provided a window into the art room at Northland Region Corrections Facility (NRCF). The collection represented various media and genres, with a strong focus on mental health and well-being.
Under the guidance of art tutor Beth Hill, the Redemption Arts and Performance programme at NRCF offers the men in Corrections’ care safe creative spaces to:
develop new strategies for rehabilitation
express themselves through a new visual language
develop their cultural identity
foster innovative transferable skills
empathise with others less fortunate
be positive role models
offer support through the koha of artworks, as well as their time to mentor fellow prisoners, and connect with community and whānau.
Beth says participating in art programmes gives the men a real sense of ownership and belonging: "All the men follow a mutually agreed kaupapa to keep themselves, staff and the community safe and the programme's kawa is underpinned by the Hōkai Rangi strategy as well as our values."
At the heart of the Redemption Arts and Performance group is the idea of "fostering stronger connections with whānau and community".
“We have hosted many visitors keen to see what the men are achieving, including government ministers, other senior government representatives, NZ Police, overseas visitors, local iwi, local employers, media, collaborating artists, staff and whānau.”
Other community projects the artists have been involved in are the Kaikohe Courthouse to raise funds for Victim Support, Women’s Refuge and Mid-North Hospice, Mid-North Hospice Arts and Collectibles Auction, and Kawakawa Police Station Mural Project.
“In the coming year, we’re looking forward to collaboration with the Auckland City Mission Hobson Street Theatre group to create a performance inside the wire, and which the Hobson Street team will perform on the outside,” says Beth.