A three-day exhibition of paintings giving a glimpse into the artistic streak of Tihar Central Jail inmates opened at Shri Ram Bharatiya Kala Kendra here on Friday.

Inaugurating the exhibition, Delhi Chief Secretary Rakesh Mehta said the paintings showcase the inmates' outlook towards life and the characters that have influenced them. “The work showcases their human side and their special bond with nature. It also highlights their aspirations and thoughts while languishing in the prison. I am sure people will buy the works, put them up in their offices and derive inspiration from them.”

Noting that the idea behind a prison term was not to punish but to refine people, Mr. Mehta said activities like painting play a crucial role in keeping human qualities alive.

According to Principal Secretary (Home) G. S. Patnaik, the paintings would be used in New Year greeting cards. “All the paintings have been made by convicts serving prison sentence at Tihar Jail. The work of an African inmate has also been displayed. Some of the inmates are artists and have popularised art work. Professional artist Sandeep Bhattacharya had conducted a workshop to encourage inmates to come out with their artistic impressions,” he added.

Of the 50 paintings on display, a few including one on Mahatma Gandhi have been sold out. A part of the money collected from the paintings priced between Rs.2,500 and Rs.5,000 would be given to the inmates.

“While thirty per cent of the money goes to the artist, the rest goes to the Prison Welfare Fund. Last year we generated Rs.1.25 lakh. The price of the work is decided by a committee set up by us. We provide the inmates with brushes and coloures as we want to nurture their artistic talent. Moreover, the whole exercise exudes positive energy and negative vibrations disappear,” said Delhi Prisons Law Officer (Jails) Sunil Kumar Gupta.


Tihar Jail's brush with coloursMarch 2, 2014

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