Leading Museums, Museum Leaders

Children of Prisoners

More than 20,000 children have a parent in prison. Source: www.stuff.co.nz.

Joel Ineson, Exhibition shows the journey of children with a parent in prison, stuff.co.nz, 29 September 2016

An art exhibition seeks to highlight that prisoners’ children “face a sentence of their own”.

The Pillars charity launched ‘My Journey’ at Canterbury Museum on Wednesday night to mark its annual Children of Prisoners’ Week campaign.

It allowed the children – of which there are 20,000 in New Zealand at any one time – an outlet to tell their story through art, but keep their privacy.

Erin Helliwell helped one child with wood cutting and printing.

She had worked with the 8-year-old for almost three years and could not imagine her life without her.

“She’s just a joy to be around. I feel very blessed that I got matched with someone so awesome,” Helliwell said.

“She came to my wedding earlier in the year. She’s become quite a big part of my life.”

Helliwell hoped to remain the girl’s mentor regardless of how long she stayed with Pillars.

“These kids often grow up in families where the remaining parent is quite busy, there’s potentially not a lot of money and they have to deal with the stigma of having a parent in prison.

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Council of Australasian Museum Directors c/o Mr Brian Oldman, South Australian Museum PO Box 234 Adelaide, South Australia 5001 Australia, © CAMD 2022
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