“Half a Square Meter of Freedom”
From October 17th to December 12th 2014
150 works of art created in the prisons of all continents will be shown to the public at dorothy’s gallery, American Center for the Arts
As Ambassadors : the Iranian photographer REZA and the French cartoonist BERTHET ONE.
A collection gathered by Art and Prison, Germany
Co-organizers Art et Prison France
In Collaboration with Carceropolis
And the support of Ensemble contre la Récidive and The Koestler Trust (GB)
AN EXHIBITION TO HUMANIZE THE WORLD OF PRISONERS
After its success at the German Ministry of Justice in April 2013, the International Exhibition “Half a Square Meter of Freedom” will be on view in Paris from October 17th 2014 to December 12th 2014.
At a time when prison is often present in the news, especially with the implementation on October 1rst 2014 of the penal reform in France, the exhibition « Half a Square Meter of Freedom » casts a universal and innovative light on prisoners and on prison and illuminates the multifaceted cultural program revealing the challenges facing the world of prison.
Inga Lavolé-Khavkina, documentary film-maker while in Rome, discovered an art exhibit created by prisoners from all over the world. Overwhelmed by the quality of this artwork, she contacted Peter Echtermeyer, the creator of the exhibition.
In 2011, Peter organized a new international art competition dedicated to imprisoned artists. The artworks selected were then shown in Berlin in 2013.
Determined that this exceptional art show must go beyond borders and be seen in others countries ; Inga Lavolé-Khavkina and her husband Bruno Lavolé contacted Dorothy Polley, founder of dorothy’sgallery, American Center for the Arts.
Active in politics and social issues, Dorothy immediately agreed to give her support and welcome the exhibition in her Paris gallery in october 2014.
BRINGING TOGETHER UNIQUE VOICES IN ART
This collection is unique by its size, its artistic quality and its geographical diversity.
Further to two international art contests, organized by the German not-for-profit, Art et Prison e.V., 250 paintings, drawings and sculptures were selected by a jury of artists among the 1000 artworks sent by incarcerated women, men and juveniles. It was very well received when exhibited at the German Justice Ministry in Berlin in April 2013.
Works of Art from more than 40 countries, which covers all continents, were contributed: Germany, United Kingdom, Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Bulgaria, Burundi, Canada, China, Colombia, South Korea, Cuba, United States, France, Ghana, Greece, Iran, Japan, Morocco, Mexico, Nepal, Nigeria, Poland, Pakistan, Romania, Russia, Singapore, Slovenia, Sweden, Ukraine, Uruguay…
- To humanize the world in which prisoners live
- To give a voice to prisoners who have discovered their creativity while imprisoned
- To change the general perception of prisoners to facilitate their return into society
« If you let this artwork impress you, your outlook on the prison system will change. »
Mr. Nettersheim, German Justice Ministry
ART, A PATHWAY TO UNDERSTANDING
By being able to travel to Paris and to be seen a large public, this exhibit reveals how art transcends cultural and geographical borders and builds a pathway to understanding between all men.
For prisoners to return to the life of normal citizens, society must overcome its stereotyped vision of offenders. It must accept, support and welcome back former prisoners into its workplace, families, schools, places of worship, communities, cultural institutions.
Art created by prisoners must be freed from its constraints, leave the prisons where it originated and be seen by the general public.
GIVING A VOICE TO PRISONERS
Those who cannot be heard
Constrained in a closed world, those prisoners choose to express their emotions through art. They reveal to the public their fights, their fears, their loneliness, and their dreams underpinned by spirituality and hope.
150 ARTWORKS – 150 LIFE STORIES
Changing destiny through Art
Thanks to art, they are able to believe again in an improbable future. These works of art remind us that they are people like the rest of us, with talent, humor, and skills that they can contribute to society. The awakening of their creativity allows them to escape from their confined situation and to bring a new meaning to their life. Public recognition of their work helps them regain self-confidence and believe that they can successfully reintegrate society.
The artwork shows that a prisoner is a person like the rest of us, with creative potential and skills that can contribute to society.
Therefore It is essential that “Half a Square Meter of Freedom” be exhibited in Paris, a leading world center for art.
“VOICES FROM PRISON”
A MULTIFACETED CULTURAL PROGRAM WHICH CHALLENGES OUR VISION OF PRISON
« Voices from prison » proposes to the public an exchange on the universal theme of confinement from a unique point of view: the artistic expression of prisoners from all aver the world.
While prison is characterized by its opacity and its silences, this series of events is a unique opportunity to question the role given to it by society and to discover the emerging analyses on prison and possible alternatives to prison.
Painters, designers, musicians, photographers, poets, film directors, cultural workers, architects, writers, sociologists, criminologists, representatives from the prison and justice systems, volunteers… will examine how confinement effects self-esteem and the prisoner role in society after his release.
During these various events, a panel of speakers will review what are the stakes for reinsertion, alternative sentences to confinement, and the fight against re-offending around a central issue: the room for humanity in the world of prison.
TESTIMONY BY A RESPECTED AND WELL KNOWN ARTIST / FORMER PRISONER
Berthet One, an artist who discovered his skills in jail
“For the ordinary public, to see an exhibition of artworks from prisoners is really surprising. To see that prisoners have talent and sensitivity. As far as I am concerned, I can tell you that art simply saved me.”
The exhibition will take place at dorothy’s gallery, American Center for the Arts (27 rue Keller – 75011 Paris).
The organisers of this exhibition are all non-profit associations :
“Art et Prison France”
French Association founded to make possible the arrival in Paris of the international exhibition of art created in prison.
Its founders are:
- Bruno Lavolé, former senior bank executive
- François Charron, former senior bank executive and Curator of the « Talents Cachés », annual exhibitions which present artworks from prisons from all over the Paris region.
- Inga Lavolé-Khavkina, documentary film maker
“Dorothy’s Gallery, American Center for the Arts“
American Art Gallery, cultural center founded in 2006, dedicated to the democratization of art, bringing cultures together and enlarging art networks.
- Dorothy Polley, founder and president
“Art and Prison e.V.”
Not-Profit Organisation founded in Berlin in 2009 by Peter Echtermeyer, organiser of the international art contest for art by prisoners with more than 1000 entries from more than 40 countries. 250 artworks were selected by a jury of artists and exhibited in Berlin. More than 150 of those will come to Paris.
- Peter Echtermeyer has been active with prisoners for more than 20 years and has held responsibilities in international organisations supporting prisoners.
- Cornelia Harmel, german artist and exhibition curator of “half a square meter of freedom”.
For more information: www.artandprisonberlin.jimdo.com
Peter Echtermeyer and Cornelia Harmel
“Art et Prison France”
In order to organize this upcoming international exhibition of art created in prison a french association “Art et Prison France” has been created by Inga Lavolé-Khavkina, Bruno Lavolé and François Charron.
And the support of Ensemble contre la Récidive
The Koestler Trust (GB)
and will have as Ambassadors
the Iranian photographer REZA
and the French cartoonist BERTHET ONE.