by Tim Smith, Visual Arts Worker
The Phoenix Mural
During May and June 2013, Valley and Vale artists Tim Smith and Chris Partridge were commissioned to create a large scale mural on the exercise yard wall of the Phoenix Wing at HMP Parc Prison in Bridgend. After consultations with prison staff and inmates it was decided that the mural should contain the phoenix, dragons and a forest in a welsh-themed design. The design that was decided upon was a collaboration of the ideas of Tim and Chris with some of the prisoners. Tim and Chris worked with several of the men to transfer the design to the yard wall and the result was an eye-catching painted mural which, thanks to the glorious summer weather, was completed in just seven day-long sessions. Prison inmates have subsequently continued the mural to cover all four walls of the exercise yard, and feedback has been really positive, transforming the plain walls into a vibrant and stimulating space.
Families Mosaic Mural
As part of HMP Parc’s ‘Invisible Walls’ initiative, artists Tim Smith and Chris Partridge were asked to create a large mosaic to adorn the exterior entrance to the Visitors’ Centre at the prison. The project involved the innovative concept of working with the prisoners and their families during visiting hours, a somewhat experimental approach which, after a few teething problems proved to be a great success. The mosaic incorporated designs created by the children of prisoners based on family activities typical of each month of the year, with the slogan ‘Parc Supporting Families – Stronger Together’. The mosaic was constructed by both the prisoners and their families during friendly relaxed sessions. The mosaic, which took 6 months to complete, has attracted a lot of positive feedback from both prisoners, prison staff and visitors to the prison.