Angel of the North sculptor speaks of time in prison

The Angel of the North was completed in 1998 Credit: PA images

Angel of the North sculptor Sir Antony Gormley has revealed he was a prisoner in Lebanon under the Al-Fatah, a Palestinian nationalist political party.

Sir Antony told Channel 4 News that he was once mistaken for being a "spy for the opposite side" and was imprisoned in Iraq and in Lebanon.

The 67-year-old also told news presenter Jon Snow that he was held on remand and in isolation in Ashdod, Israel, at the age of 18 for bringing "some drugs back from the Khyber Pass".

Sir Antony said his experience behind bars has inspired his latest offering, an exhibition of works created by prisoners entitled 'Inside' that will be displayed at London's Royal Festival Hall from 21st September.

Sir Antony said of the new exhibition:

Sir Antony Gormley at the National Open Art Exhibition at Somerset House, London. Credit: PA images

Sir Antony said the "situation in prisons is dire", and added: "This is a narrow bridge across which those who are inside can talk to us on the outside and tell us what's going on inside their minds and inside their cells."

'Inside' features a collection of works of fine art, design, writing and music from offenders, secure patients and detainees across the UK.