Tag Archives: Ben Gunn

ABC Prisoner Art UK Tour

Click on image to download full resolution poster



SEPTEMBER 2012: London – Colorama #2
OCTOBER 2012: London – Freedom Bookshop (London ABC)
NOVEMBER 2012: Cardiff – Red & Black Umbrella (Cardiff ABC)
DECEMBER 2012: Nottingham – Sumac Centre (Autonomous Nottingham)
JANUARY 2013: Bradford – 1 in 12
FEBRUARY 2013: Liverpool – Next to Nowhere
MARCH 2013: Brighton – Cowley Club (Brighton ABC)
APRIL 2013: Plymouth – Venue TBC
MAY 2013: Bristol – Emporium (Bristol ABC)
JUNE 2013: Belfast – Warzone Collective
JULY 2013: Dublin – Seomra Spraoi


After a debut viewing at Kebele Social Centre in Bristol, the Anarchist Black Cross Prisoner Art Exhibition in September 2012 began it’s UK tour; visiting 13 venues in 10 cities across England, Wales and Ireland over 11 months. The exhibition features over 30 pieces, as well as poetry, from current and past radical prisoners including – Phil Africa, Peter Collins, Lucy Edkins, David Gilbert, Alvaro Luna Hernandez Hier and Thomas Meyer-Falk. The tour aims to show the artistic and poetic talent of those behind bars, as well as highlighting the political cases of the prisoners themselves. Additionally the exhibition features a wealth of sketches and writings from a Close Supervision Centre (CSC) prisoner, yet to be revealed.

Commenting on the art exhibition in July 2012, Ben Gunn a recently released lifer who spent 33 years inside said; “In attempting to see into the darkest corners of the states activities, we are privileged to have the spotlight provided by prison artists… Struggling to obtain their bare tools for creativity they tower above their captivity to reveal their unique perspective – I hope that their art invites you to think – and be moved to ACT.”

Since the beginning of the 20th Century the Anarchist Black Cross (ABC) has been on the frontline supporting and showing solidarity for those imprisoned for struggling for freedom and liberty. The organisation has by many states been deemed illegal, “terrorist” and many members have been tortured, killed, arrested, imprisoned, and fled persecution. ABC in the early years took part in the 1905 Russian Revolution (where six members were imprisoned), organised defensive units under the anarchist Black Army in Ukraine, fought against the Bolsheviks regime a decade later, and aided anarchists fleeing fascism during the Spanish Civil War and Second World War in the 1930’s.

After it’s revival in 1967 in England to aid prisoners of the Spanish resistance, ABC eventually grew into a global network of anarchist prisoner support groups; organising international days of solidarity, letter writing nights, prison demos, financial aid for prisoners, art shows, supporting struggles inside (and on top) of the prisons, and much more.

With this tour we therefore distance ourselves from mainstream, state-funded prisoner art shows, such as the exhibition launched in London by Koestler Trust this month, campaigning instead for abolition of the prison industry and all states. Or as social prisoner John Bowden puts it: “There are frontlines of class struggle thoughout the whole of society, violent interfaces where the poor and their oppressors confront each other, and prison represents one of the most overt and undisguised frontlines of class struggle that exists.” – Solidarity without prejudice article, 2009. Continue reading

Prisoner Art Tour Arrives In London

New social space Colorama #2 hosts start of the prisoner art tour, Lancaster Street, Southwark

From the ABC Art Tour Committee:

A Prisoner Art Exhibition, collected and co-ordinated by Anarchist Black Cross (ABC) groups and allies, has now arrived at Colorama #2 (or C2), South London, as it begins a year-long tour visiting over a dozen venues across England, Wales and Ireland.

Opposite the old Colorama Cinema, C2 is fast becoming a hub of activity as residents transform the office block and ground level warehouse into an anarchist social centre, while hosting the start of the ABC art tour for approximately 10 days. It will then move onto Britain’s largest anarchist bookshop Freedom Press, in Whitechapel, before being displayed at the London Anarchist Bookfair in the University of London on October 27th.

Featuring 32 pieces from seven current and past prisoners, including well-known artist Lucy Edkins and Phil Africa from the MOVE family, the exhibition shows the artistic talent of those behind bars, as well as highlighting the political cases of the prisoners themselves.

From collaboration between Bristol & London ABC, the art exhibition aims to be an extension of solidarity to those behind bars, as part of the many ways to support prisoners. The Anarchist Black Cross has been a banner name for prison abolition for over a century, with groups in the UK re-forming in the 1960’s, and now a global network of anarchist prisoner support groups.

Commenting on the art exhibition in July 2012, Ben Gunn a recently released lifer who spent 33 years inside said; “In attempting to see into the darkest corners of the states activities, we are privileged to have the spotlight provided by prison artists… Struggling to obtain their bare tools for creativity they tower above their captivity to reveal their unique perspective – I hope that their art invites you to think – and be moved to ACT.”

Full tour details to come very soon, watch this space!

Now – October 6th: COLORAMA #2, 44-58 Lancaster Street, Southwark, SE1 0RP (Viewings 2-6pm)*
October 7th – 26th: FREEDOM BOOKSHOP, Angel Alley, 84b Whitechapel High Street, E1 7QX (Mon-Sat: 12-6pm, Sun: 12-4pm)
October 27th: LONDON ANARCHIST BOOKFAIR, Queen Mary, University of London, Mile End Road, E1 4NS (Open from 10am until 6pm)

*the building with the double doors, ring the string bell round the left of the entrance

The Association of Prisoners

A while ago, Bristol ABC was one of a number of groups contacted by Ben Gunn, a prisoner at HMP Shepton Mallet, and nominated general secretary of the executive committee of the soon to be (re)launched Association of Prisoners, essentially a union for prisoners. We reproduce here the aims of the AoP, and calls for support. If you are in touch with any prisoners please pass this info on. This pdf may be a useful format for printing/circulating infoAssoc of Prisoners_aims See also this blog The Prisoners Voice for other background info.

The text is as written by Ben Gunn, although we have changed the order for ease of understanding ie putting the AoP Aims at top, and added in some links to help (and images are by us too). Continue reading

Prisoner support list and letter writing night on 16 June

solidarity with political prisoners

Monthly letter-writing night for people to come along and send cards/letters to people imprisoned for their political activities. These small gestures can be a real boost for people locked up for their beliefs, and an opportunity for you to find out more about their cases/campaigns and prison reality. Whether you just write a short one-off solidarity note, or go on to engage in long-term correspondence…is up to you. Continue reading

Writing in solidarity and for freedom

This blog has been pretty quiet the last month, just the one post the other day about the continued persecution of Amadeu Casellas

Its not that we’ve given up, or have been too busy participating in the general election. No, the simple reason is that we are a small group, only 2 of us update this blog, and we dont have daily desk jobs that allow regular web access.

banner at Derry 2008 protest for international prisoner solidarity

As a small public group we continue as before with our contribution to political prisoner solidarity and against the growing prison society around us. In practice that means updating this blog, meeting privately and communicating with some prisoners, offering support to a few local activists facing repression, running a monthly public prisoner solidarity letter-writing night, and whenever possible highlighting the importance within our movement of solidarity for those activists and others unlucky enough to face court action and/or get banged up inside prison. For those hundreds of politically conscious activists in the Bristol area who missed our monthly letter-writing night last night, we produce here our updated UK and international prisoners list prisoners_MAY 2010 feel free to take the time to support one or more of them.

Over the last month we have been disgusted by the bare-faced cheek and lies of UK mainstream political parties, and we know that the ‘LibDem-newTory scum coalition’ means nothing but bad news for the vast majority. None of the parties offered any new ideas on justice nor prisons anyway, just the same old persecution, punishment and more prisons. We note prisons went over capacity during the election campaign, at over 87000 prisoners, but the political elite don’t care because in any case they refuse to enact the European Court decision 6 years ago that sentenced prisoners are entitled to vote. For some good insight into the boring mundanity, repression and petty rules of daily prison life check out Prisoner Ben’s Blog. (Note: prisoner Ben Gunn’s most recent parole hearing was abandoned due to deliberate bureacratic malpractice. Ben is currently some 20 years over his tariff).

We are appalled that the Decommissioners trial has been delayed yet again, whilst one Decommissioner Elijah Smith continues to languish in prison on remand for 16 months without a trial. We note that justice in the UK remains a distant prospect, as evidenced by the release of a 30 years old secret police report that fingers the cops for killing Blair Peach in 1979, and the fact that over a year after Ian Tomlinson died in London after a police assault, not one cop faces any charges. But we are inspired by the resistance movements in Greece and Thailand, whilst noting the level of oppression faced by comrades in Greece. And we remain inspired by the everyday small acts of rebellion, resistance, mutual aid and solidarity that occur everywhere all the time. Our dreams of freedom and a new world can never be contained in the capitalist systems 5 yearly ballot box.

The ongoing struggle against prisons and the prison society

Prisons are in the news this week, and not just because of the shocking statistic that the prison population has increased by 66% since 1995, to  just over 84000 locked up human beings. The main furore has been the call by the Prison Governors to abolish prison sentences of less than 1 year, which is a start…but their call is not driven by a sudden awakening to the concept of freedom. No its down to fear, fear that their overcrowded, corrupt and inhumane institutions are close to exploding, despite the introduction of countless measures since the Strangeways riot in 1990 to ever more control and isolate prisoners. Continue reading

Prisoner’s blog rattles Ministry of Justice

Shepton Mallet prisoner Ben Gunn’s blog has got the Ministry of (In)Justice all in a tizzy, and his blog is only 23 days old.

The blog is believed to be the first, or at least the only current blog, to be updated by a serving prisoner. Of course, he doesn’t personally post new articles to the blog, because as a prisoner he has no internet access. So he writes them by hand, and then gets friends to post the articles up on his blog for him.

The MoJ insist that Ben Gunn’s blog breaks the rules. He disagrees:In 2008, the justice minister, Maria Eagle, told MP Sion Simon that prisoners could blog, subject to the rules of correspondence. Yet despite my complying with the law and ministerial pronouncements, the prison service is now reverting to its old habits – attempting to squash the vocal dissenter.Continue reading