The internationally acclaimed writer, dub poet and musician will curate the latest annual Koestler Awards exhibition, which returns to the Southbank Centre from the 15th September. 

Benjamin Zephaniah at the Koestler Trust courtesy the Koestler Trust.jpg
Benjamin Zephaniah at the Koestler Trust. Image courtesy of Koestler Trust. 

The annual Koestler Awards exhibition returns to the Southbank Centre’s Royal Festival Hall next month for the ninth year running. This exhibition showcases the work of of arts created by prisoners, offenders on community sentences, secure psychiatric patients and immigration detainees.

This annual scheme is run by the Koestler Trust, the UK’s best-known prison arts charity and is part of an ongoing partnership between the Koestler Trust and Southbank Centre.

Titled We Are All Human, this year’s exhibition has been curated by Benjamin Zephaniah, who has selected a variety of artwork, selected from nearly 7,000 pieces submitted to the awards from across the UK.

Work that will be on display will include painting, , music, writing and ceramics as well as traditional prison crafts such as matchstick modelling.Exploring the themes of time and the natural environment, the display will provide a unique insight into the minds of prisoners, secure patients and detainees across the UK.

Talking about the exhibition Zephaniah said: “I was in prison myself in the 1970’s and back then there was no way you could express yourself. I felt like a creative being but there was nothing there to do. I express myself through words, and here I am surrounded by people who express themselves in different ways – matchsticks, paper mache, painting. Every bit of artwork in the exhibition has meaning, everything is relevant to the person who’s created it. We are all human, it’s a really simple truth, even if people are going through difficult times we are all trying to survive. We are all here because of circumstance.”

We Are All Human will be on display at the Southbank centre’s Royal Festival Hall from the 15th September until the 13th November. For more information visit: