Marking Time


Limited edition print of a collaboratively made experimental painting by male Dartmoor prisoners.



Dartmoor Prisoners group collaboration. A group of 8 vulnerable, male safer custody prisoners at HMP Dartmoor, UK, engaged in Arts Lab’s two-year Great Prison Art Exchange project. For more information on our work with prisoners, follow the link.

The story of Marking Time. Playfully experimenting with techniques, the group enjoyed throwing, dripping, scraping paint at / onto / into a 2 metre piece of pre-primed hardboard. After drying, the piece was taken outside of the prison and cut into 4 parts, one of which is Marking Time. This is one of many examples of the expressive value of paint – the stuff itself and the act of painting – that the majority of prisoners have taken to so eagerly. In most cases, the process has been enhanced by the prisoners’ ingenuity and the discovery of new materials and processes. A ‘magic potion’ of floor polish, ground crayon pigment and PVA glue was excitedly shared amongst the group, contributing to the range of painterly experiments. The learning has been steep for all of us!

‘The project encourages inclusivity and is challenging in a good way, taking me outside of my comfort zone and connecting with others.’  Dartmoor prisoner

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