AN exhibition of prisoner artwork will go on public display at a Saltney church this month.

St Mark’s Church will host the exhibition, titled Journey into Light, on Saturday, November 16, between 10am-4 pm, and on Sunday, November 17, between 12.30pm-4pm.

The aim of the exhibition is to demonstrate to visitors that behind every prisoner’s conviction and sentence is a personal story of love, hope and loss.

It is made up of more than 40 individual pieces of art produced by prisoners from HMP Styal and HMP Thorn Cross, Cheshire.

The Revd Hennie Johnston, Vicar of St Mark’s, says the exhibition is a wonderful opportunity to see prisoners in a new light.

She said: “Prisoners are often viewed as ‘the other’, yet they live in our midst, are a part of our communities and contribute to our societies.

“The Bible has much to say about the plight of prisoners and the Christian faith recognises that every person is made in the image of God and is valued despite our individual mistakes and regrets.

“The Journey into Light exhibition allows us the opportunity to better understand the lived experiences of prisoners in Cheshire.”

Debbie Dalby, director of social responsibility at the Diocese of Chester, added: “We want people to view the exhibition and leave with a greater sense of empathy and awareness of prisoner experience.

“There is life beyond prison and we want to celebrate renewal and restoration and the hope of a brighter, more optimistic future.”

The exhibition is inspired by the work of David Ashbrook, who discovered an extraordinary gift for painting whilst serving a life sentence.

He painted the signature artwork used for the exhibition.

On his release, David focused upon hope and renewal and was starting to share this message of love through his artwork when his life was tragically cut short in a car accident in 2008.

The exhibition is a partnership with a number of local churches in Cheshire, the Diocese of Chester and chaplains from HMP Styal and HMP Thorn Cross who have worked with the prisoners to produce the pieces of art. The exhibits differ in style from large acrylic paintings, abstract landscapes, and self-portraits.

The launch of the exhibition at Chester Cathedral in October 2018 attracted thousands of visitors. It is hoped that thousands more will have been able to see the artwork as it has travelled throughout the dioceses during 2019.