Lawyer’s artwork moving to prison lawn

| 05/06/2013

Photo (2) - Copy.jpg(CNS): Local legal defence attorney Peter Polack recently exchanged his wig and gown for a beret and smock and enjoyed his first exhibition of artwork at the National Gallery, which opened last month. His series of installation art work, entitled “Confinement”, was inspired, Polack told CNS this week, not least by his experiences working with young offenders in the legal system and, rather aptly, the local prison will be displaying the full collection on the lawn of Northward Prison following the artist’s decision to donate the entire series to the prison service once the gallery exhibition is over.

Polack is also a published author and he explained that his work researching the much overlooked yet historically significant war in Angola was also an inspiration for the work, which is entirely painted red and black — the colours of the African nation’s flag.

Known as a champion of those that are marginalized in society and a fighter for justice, Polack explained that the colours also frequently appear in various forms in the legal system, which is why his was drawn to red and black.

polack (600x324).jpgThe collection is a challenging and provocative creation which has formed part of the special exhibition at the gallery “Assemblage an exhibition of contemporary art made from found objects and recycled materials”, which runs until 26 July.  Polack used re-cycled pallets to create a collection of pieces that depict confinement and challenge concepts of freedom.

“The exhibition at the National gallery was my first ever exhibition as an artist,” Polack said, as he spoke about his venture into the world of installation art.

“The interest only started recently when I experimented with methods of expression outside the written word, which can be restricted by language and a willingness to publish. It is a more personal direction as every piece, while maintaining a general symbolism, has its origins in experience and relationship,” he added.

Following the donation to the prison and the service’s decision to display the entire collection in front of the facility, Polack said it meant a lot more to him than just having his work permanently displayed.

“Whilst it is the ultimate accolade for any artist to have a permanent exhibition, I believe like everyone in society that prisons should be unnecessary. I am hopeful it will inspire even a single inmate or any young person to make a positive change in their life direction,” he said.

Having received an element of critical acclaim already for his first major piece, Polack said he is already working on his next installation, which will look at the local environment. Working with road and event barriers manufactured from recycled pallets, his next piece is entitled ‘Cayman Enviro Barriers’.

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  1. Artist says:

    Peter: don't be discouraged about the comments. I am not surprised. They are stereotypical cliches of the unwashed masses' opinion of anything new. Most of these guys wouldn't know art if it slapped them upside the head – which gives me an idea for a new kinetic piece…hmmm.

    • Anonymous says:

      While everyone has their views as to art, I am not really convinced by these pieces.  They don't resonate with or ask questions of me, nor did they challenge anything perceptions or views I hold.  I think ineffective modern art can harm the ability of people to get drawn into and excited by effective modern art.  Others may disagree as to these works, and I respect their views.  However I don't think that I could be categorised as a member of what you describe as the ignorant unwashed masses, in the last 12 months I have been to MOMA, SFMOMA and Tate Modern.  I love modern art.  I know about modern art.   Sorry, but these pieces did not do it for me. 

    • Anonymous says:

      So it's only the enlightened "washed" who can appreciate this, is it? Only the elite who "understand art"? Your use of a meaningless word like "kinetic" reveals that you too are part of the modern art racket, plenty examples of which are on view in galleries round the island. Stop maintaining that art is something just for the fortunate who "get it". Emperors, new clothes, etc: this effort is vacuous, pretentious nonsense. There's no skill in it and it "says" nothing except that it's a few old pallets nailed together and painted red.

  2. Anonymous says:

    "And why did you choose red and black?"

    "Well I had some red paint and some black paint".

  3. St Peter says:

    Surely Peter is playing a joke on us with some old pallets and red paint…

    He really is a funny guy…

  4. Anonymous says:

    Is any of his artwork for sale?

  5. Anonymous says:

    Was this a bet?

    Mate "Peter, I bet you one crisp dollar, you can't take some junk, hammer bits together, paint it and get it exhibited in the National Gallery"

    Peter "You're on! With my expert silver tongue I will persuade people that it is art".


    • Anonymous says:

      April Fools Day has passed. Suggest you republish this next April 1st.

    • Anon says:

      In a couple of years, Muttoo and co will have these declared "heritage art" and government will be paying for them to be preserved as important neo-Caymanian culture.

  6. Anonymous says:

    R U kidding me–this is art??  I can find some old palates, nail them together and then paint them too

  7. Anonymous says:

    The National Gallery will exhibit anything provided it’s told it’s “art”, including pallets nailed together and painted red. Looks like junk to me, but what do I know?

    “Challenging and provocative”? In what way? The artist’s “explanation” is gobbledygook.

  8. Anonymous says:

    I think you forgot to post any pictures of the art.

  9. durrrr says:


  10. Anonymous says:

    it looks like nothing ive seen before other than a red fence?

  11. PNA? says:

    Wow! Gluing some creates together and painting them red and black is art work? I just don’t get it? Am I missing something? Will be donated to the prison after the exhibition, may I ask to do what? Maybe the prisoners can make ladders and plan their escape and you can defend them all over again?

  12. Anonymous says:

    This cannot be the Peter Pollack I interacted with back in the eighties.