‘B-Wing’- Shepton Mallet Prison


British journalist, writer and broadcaster, John McCarthy responds to Luminara Star’s Posy work and Scott Sandford’s mirrored cell.

‘The Gathering’ – Cell 29

Late, one Sunday afternoon spent alone in B-Wing, I felt myself taken over by a sense of peace. Since that day, I have developed a relationship with the building based on a form of endearment.

Echoing the flower posy in Cell 22 (ground floor), The Gathering is a posy of wild plants collected from the hedgerows of Somerset on my daily dog walks. The posy is a gift from me to the building. It honours the circle of life and mother nature’s reclaiming of everything as a sacred process, which no human being or building escapes forever.

‘Posy’ – Cell 22

The posy of flowers offer themselves up to this collaborative piece as a mirror of nature’s gentle, but powerful force which seeps in through the walls and windows of the building. As they wither and die, we are reminded of the beauty that can be present in the process of decay.

‘Skuggi’ (Shadow) – Cells 6,7,8 installation

Skuggi (Shadow) situated inside three Cells (no.s 6, 7, 8) and a cleansing/healing ritual performance. Cell 8 has the reputation of being the most haunted cell in B-Wing, with many prisoners assigned to the cell reporting ghostly experiences. Inspired by the ancient language of Icelandic rune staves, I spell cast with embroidery.

The staves called ‘Prisoner Binding’, ‘The Lock Breaker’ and ‘End Strife’ were presented in a way that ensures a domestic reference within each of the cells. A final stave, to complete the spellcasting, was revealed as part of my Cleansing/Healing ritual performance on 28th September at B-WING’s ‘Speical Events’ day.

 “Each spell is a creative attempt to undermine any kind of authority and revolutionise the conventional conceptions of society, in order for the individual to regain power over his own existence. Perhaps it is indeed by casting these spells that a cognoscente removes the shackles of society and finds his true natural place in the universe” – Sorcerer’s Screed – The Icelandic Book of Magic Spells


Cleansing Ritual Performance accompanied by the Shepton Mallet Natural Voice Choir.


Community Engagement 

As part of the exhibition’s community engagement programme, Luminara ran workshops with young people in Somerset creating art objects based on the theme of magic and confinement. The objects were exhibited in one of the cells in the prison alongside the main artworks. 


Further information about the exhibition can be found on the B_Wing website.