From Morgan Hardie, emerging artist and curator of the recent exhibition Captive Art #3 in the Stove cafe:
I am a portrait artist based in Dumfries, I graduated with a HND in Art and Design three years ago at Dumfries and Galloway College and have continued since then as self-taught. I have a huge interest and wish to pursue a career in the therapeutic arts, which is why I was really excited when I was offered the opportunity to curate Captive Art #3! I believe it is so important that the prisoners have the chance to show their work outside of prison walls and to offer the local community a better understanding of prison rehabilitation, and how art practice and creative writing play a fundamental part in this.
The experience of curating the exhibition was so busy and enjoyable, I loved all of the different aspects from selecting the work in Dumfries Prison to hanging the exhibition the day before the opening. I had written out a plan covering everything that needed to be done and how I was going to do it, and with some help from blueprint100 and the prison education department, I think I managed to stay fairly organised! Selecting the artwork was probably the most challenging, as there was a huge variety to choose from and such limited wall space in The Stove Café, but I managed to really narrow it down and include work which demonstrated a range of different styles and techniques.
The reason I chose the painting called ‘The Nearest Faraway Place’ to be used on the posters and invites, apart from it being my personal favourite, was because of the story behind it and the immense detail portrayed. The artist had explained to me that the painting was a representation of a dream he’d had, and he had felt the need to paint it on to canvas.
My main goal was to involve the prisoners as much as possible, as it is their exhibition after all. I took information about The Stove up to the prison, along with photographs of the space so that they were clued up on where their work was going. I had decided to keep all of the work anonymous, but instead had asked each artist for a small statement on what art does for them on a personal level and included this on their labels. I received really good feedback at the opening event about this personal touch, as well as the prisoners’ poems which were read out at the beginning and the other written work which was also on display. I found that the visitors really liked that interesting connection between art and writing as it helps them to gain a more informative insight, which is exactly what I had hoped for.
The opening event was more successful than I imagined it would be, and I hope the exhibition continues to deliver and inform for the remaining time that it is on display. Hopefully everyone enjoys the exhibition as much as I loved curating it!
All Images: Kirstin McEwan