Visual Art

There is a huge range of fine art being produced in criminal justice and secure settings around the UK. Engaging with fine art is often one of the first steps into education for many people in secure settings.

Many entrants to the Koestler Awards make work for their friends or families. Portraits, in particular, are given as gifts or commissioned from photographs. Others make artwork for qualifications or college portfolios, or simply for the joy of experimenting with materials and ideas.

Some work is made using materials in prison art departments, but people in secure settings can also purchase their own materials or experiment with every day or recycled materials (such as bread, soap and papier-mâché).

Each year the Koestler Awards generate one of the most eclectic and unusual collections of fine art in the UK. Koestler Awards visual art categories include painting; watercolour and gouache; drawing; pastel; mixed media; portrait; sculpture; digital art; graphic novel; mural and wall hanging; printmaking; photography; ceramics; and textile art.

Explore more artforms

Take a closer look at the work of Koestler Awards entrants in the online galleries.

Click here