"This engaging, honest diary of a prison art tutor reveals much about the workings of British prisons, the human psyche, and the transformative power of art."
Packed with insights, surprises and a darkly witty sense of the absurd, Steven Tafka's The Art of Crime documents his experiences as a prison art tutor in a frank and often funny style. “I was a qualified teacher, I’d done my PGCE, I had years of experience as a lecturer in art and design, but nothing in my training quite prepared me for this” — and so the scene is set for a unique and often extraordinary diary-style book. A book that served as a tool for the author’s own survival of extremely challenging circumstances.
From the author’s first moments in prison, any idealist notions of his tutoring role are quickly crushed. The conditions are often brutal, as are the crimes of the inmates he works with — murderers, gangsters and violent armed robbers whose art often reveals what they’ve done and how they feel about their offences. There are small triumphs, and big setbacks; monumental psychological strain, and life-affirming successes, and all shot-through with a sense of pride, humanity and the power of finding a creative outlet. A fascinating read for anyone who needs to know what art is for.
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