LANGI Kal Kal prison has extended its popular Koori Art Trail to Beaufort Lake for people to explore.
The 12 art installations, which mirror an established art trail in the prison grounds, aim to encourage the public to better appreciate Koori art and traditions, predominantly by talking about it.
Victorian Corrections Minister Gayle Tierney opened the lakeside trail this week.
This latest trail was a partnership between the prison and Pyrenees Shire Council. Beaufort ward councillor Michael O’Connor said the prison had a relatively low profile in the community, but it was an important part of the community.
“I am extremely impressed with the final result and the work and effort, not just of the artists, but of all the effort put into design and plaques,” Cr O’Connor said.
“Over the past 12-18 months, prisoners have paid far more attention to the wider community.”
Creating the trail offered Aboriginal inmates a chance to get in touch with their tradition and culture, and to reflect on activities they did as children.
The result from the initial trail on prison grounds helped boost confidence and build self-worth, largely from the artists openly describing their art and their stories. Many also found satisfaction in knowing their works were a permanent fixture.
The trail inside Langi Kal Kal was also recognised at last year’s Corrections Victoria Community Work Partnership Awards, winning most outstanding location-based project.
Cr O’Connor said lake art trail was also a great fit for the increasing arts culture in Beaufort, which included Ballarat Art Trax gallery and soldier wooden carvings in Beaufort Memorial Park.
Ultimately, the prison hoped to keep working with nearby communities, like Ballarat, on trail-like projects to help more people appreciate Koori culture.
Minister Tierney said the project should be highly commended for a new way to help rehabilitate prisoners.
“The Koori Art Trail is a way prisoners can give back to the community while also staying connected to their culture,” she said.