Kurt Bayer is a Herald reporter based in Christchurch

Prisoners' art raises cash for hard-up quake kids

One of the artworks produced by prisoners.
One of the artworks produced by prisoners.

Artists serving time behind bars are raising cash for hard-up kids living in Christchurch's quake-hit eastern suburbs.

Prisoners from Canterbury's three jails are giving their best impressions of Rembrandt, Monet and Picasso to charity.

More than 130 pieces of art, including oil paintings, wood and bone carvings, flax weaving and soap art will be sold in the October auction, with proceeds going to the Youth Alive Trust.

Many of the submissions are from prisoners who participate in prison arts programmes.

"The programmes re-introduce prisoners to learning in a positive and non-threatening way," said Ian Bourke, southern regional commissioner of Corrections Services. "The quality of the work is outstanding."

It also helps with their rehabilitation and supports Corrections' goal of reducing reoffending by 25 per cent by 2015.

The theme for this year's auction is 'Manaaki Mai Manaaki Atu' (Care for our land, care for our people, go forward).

Mr Bourke said prisoners - along with community-based offenders who are taking part - saw the art auction as an opportunity to give something back to the community.

"Youth Alive Trust was chosen to receive the proceeds from the auction because of the work it does with young people in the city's east," he said.

"The Trust is making a positive difference by building a future for young people and their families in an area that was hit hard during the earthquakes."

Last year's Canterbury prisoner art auction raised $21,000 for the Earthquake Mayoral Fund.

"I encourage anyone with an interest in art to attend this year's auction, as it is a chance to collect some interesting and one-off pieces," Mr Bourke said.

Artworks can be viewed from 12:30pm on Friday, October 18, ahead of the official opening at 6pm.


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