Isle Of Man / Ellan Vannin

Isle of Man Prison inmates transform roller blinds into paintings

Part of a painting of a breakwater at sunset
Image caption Prisoners worked in small groups to create the artworks

Inmates at Isle of Man Prison have been "empowered" by the "therapeutic" benefits of an art project that used recycled roller blinds as canvases, the deputy prison governor has said.

About 20 prisoners took part in the nine-month scheme in small groups.

Many of the 12 paintings depict Manx folklore, landmarks and landscapes.

Leroy Bonnick said the "positive" art classes had helped prisoners to "find new skills" and had given them "another outlook on life".

The project was led by prison art teacher Angela Patchett and Ramsey-based artist Michael Starkey.

Image caption Familiar scenes of the island feature amongst the designs

The paintings will form part of an exhibition and will also be sold, with funds donated to the Samaritans and David Gray House, which both work closely with the prison.

Mr Starkey said the inmates had done a "remarkable job" in transforming the blinds and he was "really delighted" with their enthusiasm.

Mr Starkey said: "It's all about using what materials we've got, painting at low cost, and teaching people that art hasn't got to cost a fortune."

Image caption Deputy prison governor Leroy Bonnick said the project helped inmates find new skills

Ms Patchett said the classes helped to create a "therapeutic environment" and gave inmates "a connection with home".

She added: "People in prison still have their lives and their families and their relationships with the world outside.

"The scenes of the island were partly to do with remembering that environment."

Image caption Manx folklore is also featured in the paintings, including fairies

Mr Bonnick said the skills could ultimately help with the inmates' eventual rehabilitation.

The blinds were donated by The Engine House in Castletown, where the Rolling Back Home exhibition will be on display until 10 August.

Image caption Artists Angela Patchett and Michael Starkey led the prison project
Image caption Jane Hall of the Engine House said she was "proud" to be involved in the "fabulous" project
Image caption One of the paintings features images from a circus
Image caption Recycled roller blinds were used as canvases for the project

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