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Liberation Exhibition of Prisoner Art and Poetry

  • Female Orphan School Corner James Ruse Drive and Victoria Road Rydalmere, NSW Australia (map)

Please join us to celebrate the artwork and poetry from the students of Liberation Prison Project. We have a marvellous Open Day of free events planned (see schedule below) including a film screening, poetry reading and a panel discussion with some of our post-release students and mentors.

Exhibition runs until 15th  April 2018

This exhibition is supported by Western Sydney University Art Collection and Whitlam Institute.

University of Western Sydney (Parramatta South Campus)
Margaret Whitlam Galleries, Female Orphan School (EZ)
Corner of James Ruse Drive and Victoria Road Rydalmere

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Saturday 10th February 2018 - Free of Charge

Acknowledgement of Country and
Welcome to the University of Western Sydney, Whitlam Institute
Monica McMahon, Curator Western Sydney University Art Collection

Welcome to the Liberation exhibition of Prisoner Artwork and Poetry
Ven. Thubten Chökyi, Buddhist Nun & Director of Liberation Prison Project

My Orphan Experience Talk
Gyalten Drolkar, LPP Mentor

Live Musical Interlude
Lhamo Dolma, Tibetan Singer


Reading by Robert Adamson, Australian Poet & First CAL Chair of Poetry at the University of Technology Sydney.

Reading by Jennifer Maiden, Award Winning Australian Poet

Official Exhibition Launch
Juno Gemes, Celebrated Australian contemporary photographer with a focus on social justice.



THE DHAMMA BROTHERS (76 mins) tells a dramatic tale of
human potential and transformation as it closely documents
the stories of a group of prison inmates who enter into an
intensive 10-day silent meditation program. This inspiring
film challenges assumptions about the nature of prisons as
places of punishment rather than rehabilitation and raises
the question: Is it possible for these men, some of whom
have committed horrendous crimes, to change?


A discussion on the value of meditation inside the prison walls.
Ven. Thubten Chokyi, LPP Director
ttianne Anshin, Chaplaincy Coordinator Buddhist Council of NSW

GIFT STALL OPEN 10:00 - 16:00
All proceeds from the sale of artwork go toward the important work of Liberation Prison Project. 

The Liberation exhibition features original works from our students in Australia, Germany, New Zealand, Thailand, the USA and Zambia.

Exhibiting artists include Knut, whose work has received international awards.  John is one of our Aboriginal artists and his work was presented to the Dalai Lama.  Raven is a prolific artist who also holds the unique distinction of being the only FPMT Masters Program student to complete the intensive six-year study program entirely from prison.

With limited resources and art supplies, the predominant medium our artists use is pen or pencil on paper. In the past, our artists have even risked punishment to send us works utilising prison property including soap sculpture and paintings on pillowslips.

We receive many different styles of art from line drawings, cartoons, tattoo study pieces, collage and small sculpture.  A collection of artworks is in the unconventional style of ornamented 'envelope art’ which prisoners send us with their letters.

Our students send us devotional images related to their Buddhist studies and well as cartoons illustrating the prisoner experience.  Making art gives our students agency to express themselves and their identity in a heavily controlled environment.

A common theme from our students is wildlife, birds and butterflies.  Imagery enigmatic of the struggle for a notion of freedom from within the prison walls.

With tattoos being one of the main forms of art that our students are familiar with, many of the pieces we receive are tattoo studies.

The prisoners offer the artwork to the Prison Project as a thank you for the support we offer.  The works are for sale so the collection is always evolving.  All proceeds from the sale of any artwork go toward the important work of Liberation Prison Project.

University of Western Sydney (Parramatta South Campus)
Female Orphan School
Corner of James Ruse Drive and Victoria Road Rydalmere

Opening Day: Saturday 10th February, 10am - 4pm
Exhibition:  10th February –  15th  April 2018

Gallery Hours: Thursday & Friday, 10:00am – 4:00pm
and the second Saturday of each month, 11:00am – 4:00pm (excluding long weekends and public holidays).

Earlier Event: November 7
Chaos or Control
Later Event: April 7
Self Portrait; Artist's Brain