Patients’ art proves a hit in UK competition

This piece, called Red Fish, was among those from NTW patients to receive Platinum Awards.
This piece, called Red Fish, was among those from NTW patients to receive Platinum Awards.

Artwork created by North East NHS patients has won the highest trophy possible in a national arts competition that champions the creativity of ex-offenders.

The Koestler Awards celebrate all forms of art created by ex-offenders, secure patients, and detainees.

They aim to challenge negative stereotypes and help people lead more positive lives by motivating them to participate and achieve in the arts.

Four pieces by patients of Northumberland, Tyne and Wear NHS Foundation Trust (NTW) have received platinum awards, the top accolade handed out by judges.

And five artworks have already been on display at London’s Southbank Centre in the national Koestler Awards exhibition, We Are Human.

A presentation to honour the achievements was held at Northgate Hospital in Morpeth. A platinum award winner was Ahoy!, as was Red Fish, a piece in watercolour and gouache.

Other NTW entries included Get Lucky, which won a certificate in painting, and Samurai Warrior, which won a highly commended award in calligraphy.

Arts project manager Jane Akhurst said: “For me one of the best parts is reading out the judges’ hand-written comments at the presentation, so patients hear an outside expert opinion about their individual artwork and receive that encouragement.

“We had four platinum awards at Northgate this year – this is a lifetime achievement for those patients in receipt of the top Koestler Awards, of which there are very few given out across the whole UK.”