Artistic expression of inmates at HMP Dodds finds outlet through prison 2014 calendar
The artistic expression of inmates in the rehabilitation programme at Her Majesty’s Prison (HMP) Dodds has found a wider outlet through the publication of the prison’s first calendar.
Some 4,000 copies of the 2014 calendar, appropriately titled Promoting Second Chances, were printed and distributed over the Christmas season to families and friends of inmates and to ANSA McAL (Barbados) Limited, which sponsored the production of the calendar and placed them throughout its subsidiaries.
The calendar features the work of several National Independence Festival of Creative Arts (NIFCA) awardees as well as poetry from other inmates, with each month highlighting artwork and poetry reflective of the theme selected for that month.
The calendar was put together by Jan Lewis, the prison’s volunteer librarian and Peter Forde, inmate orderly who also contributed two poems. Lewis said that the inmates were enthusiastic about the project and that there was a “wonderful camaraderie” among them. She added that the calendar was extremely well-received to the point where some entities which had seen the calendar expressed interest in purchasing artwork featured. The volunteer also said that the calendar was also part of the prison’s Second Chance initiative which aims to educate society on its rehabilitative efforts.
“Our hope in pulling this calendar together was to encourage those who use it to be generous of heart and mind, resulting in inmates being offered their second chances after their release,” Lewis explained.
Forde, 37, said of being involved with the calendar, “It’s satisfying and gratifying to see the finished product.” Forde is passionate about writing and directing and wants to help improve film production in Barbados upon his release from prison.
Rodney Beckles, whose colourful piece entitled “Crop Over” is featured in the month of July, has been involved in the prison’s art programme for 10 years.
“Painting helps me relax; it’s my meditation. It also has helped a lot in my rehabilitation and to provide for my children,” he explained. Over 100 of his paintings have been sold.
Andy Archer has two pieces of work featured and was excited to see the calendar come together. “As a senior artist I took up the role of helping to tutor some of the guys and it was exciting to see the different ideas coming together and seeing the finished product. The most gratifying part for me was seeing how excited people were about it.”
The 34-year-old self-taught artist, who has won five awards at NIFCA including the Ivan Payne Award in 2011 and 2012, said he was already looking forward to the 2015 calendar and has started working on his pieces. “I’m also helping other guys get their pieces together and so we’re putting a lot of work into it.” Archer also thanked corporate Barbados including ANSA McAL for taking an interest in the Second Chance initiative.
Monique Hassell, Group Organisational Development Manager of ANSA McAL (Barbados) Ltd. said the group was impressed with the quality of artwork and poetry in the calendar and commended the prison for its rehabilitation programme.
AMBL has established a relationship with the prison which has also seen it donating eight computers, a television and a DVD player for educational use in the prison’s rehabilitation programme through Consolidated Finance Company and Standard Distributors (Barbados) – two of AMBL’s subsidiaries. “We continue to be passionate about helping persons to reintegrate effectively once their debt to society has been paid. To this end, we are also exploring micro-enterprise opportunities with a view to assisting former inmates with generating income for themselves and jobs for others.”
“We were overwhelmed by the enthusiastic response to the 2014 calendar and so are eagerly looking forward to our involvement in the 2015 edition,” Hassell added.
Fifty poetry submissions and 12 pieces of artwork are being sought from inmates for the 2015 calendar.