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A brush with the law: Love/Hate star Peter Coonan opens prisoners expo

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Actor Peter Coonan with ex prisoner turned artist Erick Boylan, Clonsilla at the launch of the National Prisoner Art Exhibition titled "FALLEN BIRD take 2" at City Hall in Dublin. Picture:Arthur Carron

Actor Peter Coonan with ex prisoner turned artist Erick Boylan, Clonsilla at the launch of the National Prisoner Art Exhibition titled "FALLEN BIRD take 2" at City Hall in Dublin. Picture:Arthur Carron

Actor Peter Coonan with ex prisoner turned artist Erick Boylan, Clonsilla at the launch of the National Prisoner Art Exhibition titled "FALLEN BIRD take 2" at City Hall in Dublin. Picture:Arthur Carron

Actor Peter Coonan with ex prisoner turned artist Erick Boylan, Clonsilla at the launch of the National Prisoner Art Exhibition titled "FALLEN BIRD take 2" at City Hall in Dublin. Picture:Arthur Carron

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Actor Peter Coonan with ex prisoner turned artist Erick Boylan, Clonsilla at the launch of the National Prisoner Art Exhibition titled "FALLEN BIRD take 2" at City Hall in Dublin. Picture:Arthur Carron

Love/Hate star Peter Coonan was one of the guests to attend the launch of art exhibition Fallen Bird in Dublin's Town Hall last night.

The exhibition features paintings, photographs and video installations created by convicted criminals and ex-convicts.

Having played a prisoner both on screen and on stage the work resonated deeply with Coonan.

"What with the characters I play in Love/Hate and Borstal Boy I can connect with the art", he told the Herald. "It shows that once you go in to prison you can still express yourself."

The award-winning actor cited his Love/Hate co-star Stephen Clinch (Noelie) who spent time in jail but rehabilitated himself through music.

"It worked out for him and I think this is a great initiative."

Ex-prisoner Eric Boylan (27), from Clonsilla, began painting when he was serving time in Mountjoy.

"When you're in prison it's very liberating to do something so creative," he said. "I'm now getting ready to apply to art college. Painting really helped me to get through it."

The full names of the artists are not on display in a bid to protect the identity of those who are current prisoners.

Minister for Justice Frances Fitzgerald and Lord Mayor Christy Burke also attended the art exhibition, which runs until January 17.

hnews@herald.ie


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