Singer Peter Doherty to model for Barlinnie prisoners in new art project

Babyshambles and Libertines singer Peter Doherty has teamed up with Barlinnie prisoners for a new art exhibition – and plans to model for them behind bars.

The frontman, who has experienced his own time in prison due to drug offences in the past, has collaborated with the Scottish prisoners at Barlinnie for the art project which explores prison reform, rehabilitation and redemption.

This July, during a one-day life drawing class, at the Fife college Art Room inside the gates of Barlinnie prison Doherty will star as the life class model.

Peter Doherty teams up with Barlinnie for exhibtion

The class will include eleven artists drawn from Barlinnie’s diverse prisoner communities, ranging in age from 19 to 65, with varying backgrounds and levels of education and experience.

The exhibition will then host the drawings alongside a selection of Doherty’s own artworks chosen by Doherty himself and curator Joe Henry, that depict Doherty’s subversive world of art, music and poetry, and his far reaching influence on popular culture.

Peter Doherty v Barlinnie will take place on September 22 2021, hosted at Platform Gallery in the space that was formerly The Arches.

There will also be some photography from Sarah Thompson and Pauline Darley.

Joe believes Peter to be a pioneer artist and musician, a modern day Jack Kerouac, whose poems are for the romantics and whose music is the rebellious sound of youth.

He said: “Peter loves the connection with the prison and the fact it allows a voice to be heard from those behind bars.”

Joe, who studied ‘Healing in a Broken World’ using art as a form of healing after Covid as part of his masters degree, also reckons there are similarities between Peter and the Scottish bard Robert Burns, a man with a lifestyle seen in its day as every bit as wild as Doherty’s.

“He said: “I’ve always been a fan of Pete Doherty. His poetry and his music have influenced a generation. His artwork has the same chaotic punk energy of his sound and is similar in style to the art of Jean Michel Basquiat.

This exhibition will see Pete on a different platform, behind the prison gates of Scotland’s toughest prison, Barlinnie.

Working with mixed media artists, using Doherty as their canvas to work from. We are hoping by staging this event, that this will inspire the participating artists on their road to recovery, and bring the conversation of prison reform to a bigger audience.”

Mick Stoney, Barlinnie Governer said: “Art in prison provides the opportunity for expression and is a form of coping, creating something positive and a chance for the men to see themselves as something different.

This project provides an injection of energy that prisons often need to support engagement and change.

The chance to have their art displayed publicly will be affirmation that they can create a new identity and have the skill to contribute positively, a unique project which I hope leads to positive outcomes for all involved.”

As part of the exhibition there will be an introduction written text / essay from Christopher Bailey (head of art, World Health Organisation), on the importance of creation in confinement and using art as a form of healing.

Tickets for the exhibition will be available from Skiddle and Tickets Scotland.

Launch night in Glasgow will include Disco Punk DJ Set from Peter Doherty & Bosco. From 7pm till Midnight

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