PAINTINGS, sculptures, prints, poetry and writing from the inmates of Scotland's prisons, children's homes and secure hospitals are to be at the centre of a major new exhibition curated by one of the nation's leading authors.

Writer Jenni Fagan, whose acclaimed novels include The Panopticon, about a female young offender living in a young person's unit, has curated the show at the Tramway venue in Glasgow, which will feature 180 works of art.

For the show entitled 'Narrative', the works were entered by men and women in prisons and other secure locations for the 2017 Koestler Awards, a scheme which recognises artistic talent in prisons and secure homes.

Ms Fagan, who grew up in the local authority care system, has curated a large exhibition which will be staged from November 10 to December 22.

As well as traditional pictures and sculptures, she has chosen needlecraft, poetry, animated films, spoken word pieces and even 'nail art' from a women's prison for the show.

She has curated the work into sections, including surrealism, traditional art, sculptures, and 'dreams and nightmares'.

She has written her own personal view of the exhibition for The Herald.

Jenni Fagan: "If art is to be used to offer rehabilitation within the prison system or young offenders, then each artwork should be able to stand alone"

Ms Fagan, who has written the screenplay for a forthcoming film version of The Panopticon, said: “Some of the work is phenomenal, this will be a really compelling exhibition.

"The chance to practice art should be available to everyone in the prison system, it can be a vital part of their rehabilitation.”

“The exhibition will get people to think beyond their ideas of who prisoners are.

"Narrative will present them with work of real creativity and brilliance."

Ms Fagan said that the rehabilitative power of art should be "fostered, nurtured and pushed further on."

She added: "I love the idea that the children of lots of these people can come and see the artwork, and think about the narrative. There are some extraordinary pieces, there was so much talent, and it was really quite emotional to be around it.

"I feel if you are offering art for the purpose of art for rehabilitation in the prison system, it is up to the people who are extending that to not re-judge the people: these people have already been judged, they've been convicted, they've been tried.

"My job is to look at the artwork and support them as artists, it's not about what this person or that person has done."

The attributions for the art include titles, and the institution in which the artist is based, but no identifying information.

The Koestler Awards receive thousands of entries from across the UK, with 1,131 this year from Scotland.

The exhibition is part of Freedom in Expression, a festival presented by the Koestler Trust to celebrate the arts within criminal justice and secure settings.

Sally Taylor, chief executive of the Koestler Trust, said: “We are thrilled to be returning to Tramway to showcase the amazing artwork from Scottish prisons and secure establishments with the support of our partners.”

“Jenni Fagan’s curation has produced a fascinating and moving exhibition.

"Once again, the quality of work generated by Scottish establishments has been truly outstanding and we look forward to sharing this with the public at this very special venue."

The Koestler Trust was founded writer Arthur Koestler, author of the prison novel Darkness at Noon, and it has been awarding, exhibiting and selling artworks by offenders, detainees and secure patients for more than 50 years.

James King, head of offender learning at the Scottish Prison Service, said: "Each year the competition provides a positive channel to showcase the breadth of talent and creative abilities of those in our care and this year is no exception. "We would like to thank Koestler Trust and Creative Scotland for supporting this year’s display at the Tramway which will undoubtedly generate much interest and praise.”

“The range and depth of the work submitted bears testimony to the hopes of our population in embracing new ways of being and their aspirations for a more positive future.

“The work also reflects the often unacknowledged efforts of dedicated staff and education partners in teaching, advising, motivating and making manifest the embryonic ideas and future ambitions of our learners.”

Jenni Fagan: "If art is to be used to offer rehabilitation within the prison system or young offenders, then each artwork should be able to stand alone"

The project is supported by the National Lottery through Creative Scotland, with additional support from the Robertson Trust.