Imprisoned artist’s work in exhibition

Work by Fife artist Michele Caira.
Work by Fife artist Michele Caira.

The cells of an old Fife police station will provide a unique backdrop to an exhibition of work by an imprisoned Kirkcaldy artist.

In 2010, professional artist and former ‘Mr Scotland’ bodybuilding champion Michele Caira, was convicted and sentenced to eight years for drugs offences and sent to Glenochil.

Cupar artist Carolyn Scott studied with Michele at Dundee’s Duncan of Jordanstone College of Art and, learning that he had been commissioned to produce artwork for the prison, she contacted the then Governor, Dan Gunn, suggesting that she might document the process.

The Governor was receptive and this led to the development of the installation ‘Inside’ to be shown at the Cupar Arts Festival which begins in the town tomorrow (Friday).

Carolyn explained: “Michele, or Mick as he is known to some in Glenochil, was encouraged to produce artwork by prison staff who knew his background and recognised his talent.

“This, in turn, prompted Dan Gunn into commissioning him to create two works, of considerable size to be displayed on view to inmates, and visitors alike.”

Over the past 18 months, Carolyn and film-maker Andy Sim have made several visits to Glenochil documenting this unusual situation through filmed interviews, and sound recordings of Michele and members of prison staff involved with him.

She said: “The prison authorities have been very generous in allowing us access, and by loaning Michele’s most recently completed work, ‘2051’ Two Thousand and Fifty One (Michele was born on October 8, 1951), to show in the festival. Michele’s longtime fascination with the relationship between ‘man and machine’ is very evident in this work.”

Carolyn went on to say that she has been delighted by the response from the prison, Michele’s family and the staff at Fife Council in Cupar.

Michele’s cousin, Paul Caira, owner of Cupar’s Central Cafe, has also agreed to show the film element of the work on a constant loop in the café throughout the festival.

Michele (62) said: “I am inspired by technology as an indispensable extension of mankind. 2051 begs the question: Progress?”

The exhibition will take place in the former police station holding cells, behind Cupar’s County Buildings’ which, as Carolyn said, “provides just the right setting for the work”.

Unfortunately, the building is due to be demolished imminently, therefore ‘Inside’ will not be on show for the whole run of the festival, but from October 5-13 inclusive.

The Old Prison Cells behind The County Buildings, St Catherine Street. Main Saturday, October 5 – Sunday, October 13. Saturdays 10.00 a.m. – 5.00 p.m., Sundays noon – 5.00 p.m, weekdays 2.00 p.m. - 5.00 p.m. and (film only) The Central Cafe, Crossgate, KY15 5AS.