Home  |  RTI  |  Advertisement  |  Contact Us
Official Website of West Bengal Correctional Services, India - Organization, Latest Events

Painting in Prison

19-30 June, 2010

Kolkata, June 19, 2010: The Information & Cultural Affairs Department, The West Bengal Correctional Services and non-governmental organisation (NGO) Flight to Harmony Foundation are organising 'Painting in Prison' - an exhibition of paintings and sculptures by the inmates of seven correctional Homes across West Bengal. The Exhibition at the Gaganendra Pradarshanshala would be open to the public from June 20th to 30th, 2010 (3 pm to 8pm) every day. "We have taken several steps for the moral, physical, educational and cultural upliftment of the inmates of the Correctional Homes keeping in conformity with the provisions of the West Bengal Correctional Services Act. This exhibition and catalogue will not only inspire all, but also help form an idea on the reformatory activities being pursued by us in the Correctional Homes," said Mr Biswanath Chowdhury, Minister-in-Charge, Department of Women & Child Development and Social Welfare and Department of Jails, Government of West Bengal.

"West Bengal has been showing the way to rest of the world in using art, culture and sports for re-integration of prisoners with the mainstream society. The art workshop at Alipore Central Correctional Home has made a qualitative difference in the lives of prisoners participating in it. This endeavour has also resulted in greater awareness in the society about prisons and prisoners and also the need to treat them more humanely," said Mr Samar Ghosh, Additional Chief Secretary, Home & Department of Correctional Administration, Government of West Bengal. "The Art workshop, which started as an experiment in 2007 at the correctional homes in West Bengal by artist and sculptor Chitta Dey, has now become a passion and instilled a sense of purpose for many inmates. The popularity of the art workshop can be gauged from the fact that inmates-turned-artists of 23 years to 81-year-old Srikanta Haldar have taken to paint and brush. The number of women participants have also increased," said Mr B D Sharma, IPS ADGP & IG of Correctional Services.

"Therapeutic art and psychological well being is at the core of this unique workshop.  I only hope that the use of art therapy for transformation of prisoners becomes a movement in all the states of India and beyond in the times to come. Some of the inmate-students have been rehabilitated in the field of art on their release," he said. The Art & Craft School in Alipore Central Correctional Home has since been converted into a modern art gallery and is now used for displaying the art works of our inmates. This state-of-the-art gallery can be used for exhibitions of paintings from outside world for the benefit of prisoners in the future. "Art as a therapy is the deliberate use of art making (painting, drawings etc.,) to address psychological and emotional needs. Art therapy provides an emotional outlet to those who have experienced trauma, grief, loss, depression, chronic illness, substance abuse and more. The paintings are a reflection of the new hope that has been generated in the lives of the inmates," said artist and sculptor Mr Chitta Dey, who is also the founder director of Flight to Harmony Foundation. "The project of 'colour therapy' has never looked back since it started. The Art School in Alipore Central Correctional Home is running in full swing with a steady inclusion of new enthusiasts. In their journey towards the light, the quality of their creation is not of primary importance but the journey itself that provides them the opportunity to spend more time with colours and offers them a chance to rectify and return to the mainstream society through the medium of art," Mr Dey said. The paintings reflect the harmonious effect of art and colour on the human psyche in general and the healing effects it has on the prison inmates. The paintings are not mere colours splashed on the canvas – it in fact marks the turning point in lives that had gone wrong.