The Torch, whose team is based in Victoria, aim to offer those who are currently behind bars the chance to stay connected and also strengthen their cultural understanding and expression through art and vocational support.
Museum Victoria has teamed up with the Torch to present a unique exhibition in time for NAIDOC week. Yannae Wirrate Weelam: Artworks from the Torch exhibition will feature artworks created by inmates who are part of the post-release program whose main objective is to facilitate the rehabilitation process and help build self-confidence and generate income.
The Torch CEO, Kent Morris, spoke to NITV from the exhibition space “The ability for the men and women to have a forum to share their stories at such a significant venue such as Bunjilaka adds an element of connectivity back to the community.”
"The opportunity for the men and women who have come through the prison system and communicate their story to a wide range of people is really significant."
Morris has already seen a broad cross section of the community visiting the gallery space and engaging with the stories that he has curated in to language groups, painting a wider picture of the entire South East landscape. “It’s such a vibrant expression of culture and connection.”
Morris says that there is the desire to find a new way forward after incarceration and through this program many of them do. "They are going in to higher education and employment and moving away from destructive behaviours or abusive relationships and finding the strength within themselves, not only to express themselves and their culture but to also generate a legitimate income.
"These two elements together provides an opportunity to make better choices and new decisions and stop that re-offending cycle"
The paintings from The Torch are available for sale and those who are in post-release programs receive the full sale amount, with those still in prison have their monies held in trust until release, which can help ease the pressure of reintegration post incarceration.
The exhibition runs from now until the 6th November. For opening times and more information visit the website.
For more information on the Torch head here.