Power: Freedom to Create

Produced by the National Justice Museum in partnership with Koestler Arts

21 May – 31 October 2021
National Justice Museum, Nottingham

This exhibition brought together works from the National Justice Museum’s Collection, selected entries from the 2020 Koestler Awards and six contemporary commissions which explored themes of power and creativity. It was the first time Koestler Arts has exhibited artwork alongside a historic museum collection.

The idea for the exhibition began with a small yet powerful artwork from the Museum’s collection – a characterful portrait sculpted from a bar of soap by someone in prison. Dating from the 1970s, this tiny artwork inspired discussions about power, creativity and empathy, shaping the foundations of the exhibition.

Koestler Arts contributed 23 artworks to the show, entered into the 2020 Koestler Awards. Selected from around the UK during virtual curation sessions, each artwork spoke to the theme of power and creativity.

The National Justice Museum commissioned six artists and writers in response to the themes of creativity, freedom and power. Artist and designer Bruce Asbestos created a virtual catwalk presentation; academic Dr Antoinette Burchill wrote about power for the exhibition guide, and Ofilaye created photographic responses to the soap carvings. There was an artistic response through the lens of invisible disability from Rachel Parry; a new poem by Dave Wood, and a video performance by whatsthebigmistry.