Singapore, September 22, 2007 – Twenty-eight inmates and ex-offenders share their journey of rehabilitation and reintegration through various art forms with the community at the two-day Community heARTS Exhibition which opened today at The Arts House. Organised by the Community Action for the Rehabilitation of Ex-Offenders (CARE) Network, the arts exhibition gives inmates and ex-offenders a chance to demonstrate their commitment to society by raising funds for the Very Special Arts Singapore (VSA) – a charity that provides people with disabilities, access to arts programmes.
Themed “Inside Out”, the exhibition illustrates the rehabilitation journey of inmates and ex-offenders in five phases – Faces of Youthful Rebellion, Walls of Reflective Realisation, Journey of Transformation, Community Acceptance and Family Reconciliation, and Gift of Renewed Life. All 73 original artworks are available for community and corporate adoption and are priced between $280 and $2,000.
Organising Committee Chairman Simon Tan said, “The exhibition serves as a platform for inmates and ex-offenders to showcase their flair for the arts and their desire to reconcile with their families and society. Through the adoption of the art pieces, the community is able to demonstrate their support for the reintegration of inmates and ex-offenders, and contribute to VSA.”
Symbolising their commitment to reintegrate into society, inmates also participated in the creation of a four-part sculpture, “Unity”. The collaborative art piece, initiated by CARE Network and National Institute of Education (NIE), was created by inmates, students from Tampines Junior College, artists of VSA and the general community, to represent both the opportunities and obstacles that inmates and ex-offenders have to face in the process of scaling greater heights in life.
“Unity symbolises how society needs to accept the reintegration of ex-offenders before they can make more positive contributions. Just like members at VSA, inmates and ex-offenders who have displayed their commitment need to be given the right opportunities. We appreciate the contributions from the art adoption and are thankful to inmates and ex-offenders who willingly shared their journey with us,” said Edwin Chan, Director of VSA.
The exhibition also showcases a recycled art piece initiated by CARE Network and the South West Community Development Council (CDC), to inspire the community’s support for the reintegration of inmates and ex-offenders. The semi-finished art piece, designed by inmates, will be making its rounds to CDC-organised recycling events. South West residents will be invited to complete the recycled art piece at these events. Dr Amy Khor, Mayor of South West District and Senior Parliamentary Secretary, Ministry of the Environment and Water Resources, said, “The collaboration between residents and inmates - where they worked together to complete a single piece of artwork - would help residents better appreciate the diverse talents of the inmates and inspire them to support their reintegration into the community. The South West CDC and CARE Network will pilot a programme where inmates will undertake the design of collaterals for community events on a project basis.”
The Yellow Ribbon Project is a nation-wide campaign to raise the awareness, generate acceptance and inspire action among Singaporeans about the need of inmates, ex-offenders and their families for societal acceptance. There are approximately 11,000 ex-offenders who are released from the various prisons and drug rehabilitation centres each year. The Yellow Ribbon Project highlights the importance that the community plays in creating an inclusive social environment where ex-offenders, who display strong desire to change, with their families, can find the hope to start life afresh and become contributing members of society.
For more information, please contact:
Burson-Marsteller for Singapore Prison Service
Telephone: 6829 9333
Mobile: 9843 3505
Public Affairs Branch, Singapore Prison Service
Telephone: 6546 9384
About the CARE Network
The Community Action for the Rehabilitation of Ex-Offenders (CARE) Network’s vision is to offer hope, confidence and opportunities for ex-offenders. CARE Network seeks to engage the community in rehabilitation, coordinate member agencies’ activities and develop innovative rehabilitation initiatives for ex-offenders.
The CARE Network brings together various community and government organisations responsible for the rehabilitation of reforming offenders. They are the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA), Ministry of Community Development, Youth & Sports (MCYS), Singapore Prison Service (Prisons), Singapore Corporation of Rehabilitative Enterprises (SCORE), National Council of Social Service (NCSS), Industrial and Services Co-operative Society Limited (ISCOS), Singapore After-Care Association (SACA) and Singapore Anti-Narcotics Association (SANA).
For more information on CARE Network, please visit https://www.score.gov.sg/programmes-services/community-partnerships/care-network