Photos: "The Prison Project"

Juxtapoz // Friday, 22 Feb 2008

A model motorcycle made of small and delicate animal bones. Eight-foot lead scrolls relinquishing you of your rights. Massive amounts of thread meticulously intertwined. These are some of the works on display for The Prison Project, which opened Wednesday, February 20 at Intersection for the Arts in San Francisco. The show features work by inmates incarcerated in the California Prison system as well as artists on the outside and aims to give insight into how imprisonment affects us all.
The urge to communicate and the choices in style and technique are as much a struggle for the incarcerated artists as those on the outside, which proves it's tough to polarize: what is art? What is criminal? One artist, William Noguera, mixes his blood in with the ink he uses, so that a part of him goes free. Sara Thustra's bright and striking "portraits" depict geometric shapes and symbols to tell his story. And then there's Robert Stansbury's odd and idiosyncratic little paintings: a seascape, a campfire, a pheasant in a field, that give us a glimpse of what he calls his fight between his conscious mind and subconscious.
Facts and pamphlets are displayed around the gallery to enlighten visitors and encourage dialogue. Featured artists include Arthur Huang & Sonia McKenna, Richard Kamler, Mabel Negrete, William Noguera, Plain Human, Robert Stansbury, Sara Thustra, Kelly Beile & Emily Wright and work from a number of organizations, including The Advocates for Indigenous California Language Survival, The AOUON Archive, Mutual Aid Pen Pal Project, The Imagine Bus Project, San Francisco Art Institute City Studio, San Quentin’s Arts-in-Corrections Program, and The William James Association.
This exhibit is part of Intersection for the Arts' larger effort to contextualize the criminal justice system through various art events. The show runs until March 29. More information can be found at

Words by Jolene Torr. Photos by Evan Loewy.

Mabel Negrete etches a letter on the wall from her incarcerated brother.

The Plain Human campaign for prisoner's rights

Hand-printed linoleum prints and bound books

Thread representing the interrelationships of different California populations affected by the prison system; each six-inch thread represents ten people

Mabel Negrete compares the size of her bathroom to her brother's cell

Tapestry of Stanley "Tookie" Williams





Every image in one place


Full magazine features from Juxtapoz

visit the VAULT >

Best Of Juxtapoz

The best of the best chosen by you!