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August 09 Edition Cover

Downtown lights the way

02 Aug 2018

Downtown lights the way Image

By Niccola Anthony

The most recent exhibition at the Deakin Downtown gallery, “No Turning Back – Artworks from The Torch”, will become a mainstay event in future years.

The annual exhibition, which features artworks from a number of incarcerated and post-release indigenous prisoners, wound up its second run on July 13.

The exhibition is run by The Torch, a not-for-profit organisation that provides support to indigenous Australians within Victoria’s prison system.

The Torch gives participating artists an opportunity to sell and licence their artworks, in an effort to create an economically viable vocation before prisoners are released.

More than 170 artists currently take part in The Torch’s initiatives, which include both an “in prisons” and “post-release” program.

“By the time the men and women hit the post-release program, they’re pretty well versed in what that connection to the industry can entail for them and their ability to build a legitimate, self-generated income,” said The Torch’s CEO Kent Morris.

“There they can begin to understand how, through expressing their culture through art, they can totally redefine themselves and their place in the world upon release.”

Mr Morris also believes that the timing of the annual exhibition plays a significant role in boosting community awareness of the program and its initiatives.

So far, the annual exhibition has played a significant role in financially assisting many featured artists.

Deakin University purchased three artworks from last year’s exhibition and one artwork from this year’s exhibition, which have been added to the university’s extensive indigenous art collection.

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