LANGI Kal Kal prison is set to extend its Indigenous art program into the Beaufort community.
The prison is partnering with Pyrenees Shire Council to create a Koori art trail around Beaufort Lake.
This will build on an established art trail in the prison grounds in a bid for the public to better appreciate Koori art and traditions, predominantly by talking about it.
Langi Kal Kal prison general manager Scott Jacques said the the initial project had aimed to improve aesthetics about the prison, and the trail concept helped promote physical activity.
“Guys were remembering things they did as children, like yabbying...it was also a chance to get back in touch with their tradition and culture,” Mr Jacques said.
“When the art trail formally opened, the guys got a lot out of it. Part of this was openly describing their art and their stories. It really helped with confidence and building self-worth.
“All cohorts were asking about it. It helped build a much more inclusive community in the prison.”
Mr Jacques said some prisoners involved in the project discovered a talent and importantly, found satisfaction in the 18 works being a permanent fixture.
The Beaufort project will involve some different Koori prisoners, as some had move on, which Mr Jacques said would increase benefits. Ultimately, he said the prison hoped to keep working with nearby communities, like Ballarat, on trail-like projects to help more people appreciate Koori culture.
The initial project took about eight months to source the right materials for works, which were painted directly on to metal sheets, then lacquered to protect against weather.
Langi Kal Kal started involving a few Koori prisoners, but Mr Jacques said the whole prison community quickly got on board.
Pyrenees Shire Council will work with the prison to establish exact locations for the Beaufort Lake trail.
Council chief executive officer Jim Nolan said the council looked forward to developing the trail and involving the local arts community, including Pyrenees Arts Council.
“The artwork is exquisite, and it shows how much effort the prisoners have put in to expressing their culture and heritage,” Mr Nolan said.