Inside Out: art in an atmosphere
Editors, Asheville Global Report,
AGR #175 arrived today and I was glad to see the
upcoming Prison Art Show on the front page. [Ed. note: See Events
in the Resource guide for information.]
I would like to say that I am not merely interested
in “selling the prisoners’ art” for them. I am a prison abolitionist
and changing the public’s misconception of prisoners is a step
In the 1860’s the French artist Gustave Courbet
joined a growing debate about doing art in an atmosphere of
oppression. Courbet himself was briefly imprisoned for criticizing
the state, but he couldn’t imagine working under the brutal
conditions of the US prison system!
I asked the artists to talk about themselves.
Nancy wrote to say, “Art and creating are important to us. Our
time is not our own and there are so many interfering demands.
But art is the escape. They can take away our supplies but they
cannot take away the creative force.”
I have been an artist all my life. I seriously
question whether I could have created my work had I been subjected
to the conditions in which these “inside” artists live. They
have amazing talent, fortitude, strength, and the will to persevere.
West Palm Beach, Florida