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Children in conflict with the law feature in first art exhibition 

Nairobi, 17 November 2020 - Powerful artworks by children expressing their experiences of Kenya’s juvenile justice system, lessons learnt and hopes for the future will feature in an exhibition that begins in Nairobi on Friday (20 November). 

The Probation: A New Beginning Art Exhibition features drawings, paintings and collages by 42 children in conflict with the law, aged between 9 and 17, who were among 651 entrants in a national competition organised by the Probation and After Care Service (PACS), the Delegation of the European Union to Kenya and United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC). 

The exhibition runs from 20 November – 17 December 2020 at Kioko Art Gallery in Lavington, Nairobi. 

The winners of the art competition will be announced at an upcoming high-level event. 

At a time when school and vocational training were interrupted by the COVID-19 pandemic, children who are being rehabilitated by PACS were invited to enter the art competition – a first of its kind – to have their voices heard, learn new artistic skills and share their creative talent. 

This art initiative, made possible with funding from the European Union, also aims to enable child participation in probation practice and gain their feedback so as to improve services, as well as improve awareness on probation, offender rehabilitation and the importance of giving young offenders a second chance in life. 

To safeguard their privacy, only the gender and age of each child are shown beside their artworks.

Here are extracts of the messages from some of the children in their own words:

  • Boy, 9: “Do not be a thefe”. [thief] 
  • Girl, 13: After joining a bad company I started taking drugs… That is when I committed a crime ending up in probation. After learning from the probation officer, I have now become a focused, responsible and even a determined girl… willing to help others change.” 
  • Boy, 15: The black colour represents the part of my previous life, and the red colour shows how I have become worse before joining Probation Hostel… The ball shows how I have kicked out the bad behaviour… I see in my future being a Kenyan star and winning trophies for my country.”

Kioko Art Gallery is open from 8am to 6pm Monday to Sunday. The exhibition is free to the public. 

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