BUTTERFLY CLOCK BY ARTIST PAPILLON1991
Small, plastic and paper, decorative handmade clockface artwork. Butterfly collage clock made with a circular white plastic plate as the background. The hour hand and minute hand are made of black cardboard fixed at the centre of the plate. Fixed in the centre of the clock, at the end of the hour and minute hands, is a small, orange painted, paper butterfly. Twelve paper, multi-coloured butterflies are mounted around the edge of the plate in the place of hour numbers.
Found unaccessioned in Refractory in May 2014. Possibly recovered from Papillon's decorated cell No. 5 in 1 Division, Main Cell Block in 2002 with remainder of his artworks.
Papillion is the self-given nickname of a prisoner who was incarcerated at Fremantle Prison until its closure in 1991. He decorated his cell, (cell 5, in 1 Division), with multiple examples of his distinctive butterfly artwork, with each piece attached to the walls and ceiling using metal thumbtacks and toothpaste.
Papillion gave himself this nickname, presumably in reference to the French writer Henri Charrière, who was convicted of murder in 1931. Charrière wrote the novel Papillion, a memoir of his incarceration and escape from a penal colony in French Guiana. The title of the book derives from a butterfly tattoo on Charrière’s chest, with ‘Papillion’ being the French word for butterfly.
According to an ex-prison officer who worked at Fremantle Prison in the early 1990s, the prisoner Papillion was allowed to create his butterfly artwork as a form of therapy. When Fremantle Prison closed in 1991, the prisoner Papillon was transferred to Casuarina Prison and his artworks were left upon the walls of his cell.