The Pencil Is a Key: Drawings by Incarcerated Artists
This is an exhibition of historical and contemporary drawings by incarcerated people from all over the globe. Works by artists who were or currently are prisoners are juxtaposed with drawings by prisoners who became artists wile incarcerated. Examples include drawings by political prisoners like Gustave Courbet, who was held in Saint Pélagie Prison for his role in the Paris Commune uprising of 1871; artists incarcerated during World War II as noncombatants like Hans Bellmer, who was interned in France; as well as artists in Soviet Gulags, Apartheid-era South Africa, in central and South American countries and in the post-Arab Spring Middle East. Drawing is vital to those in captivity, a vehicle through which they proclaim individuality, express hope and imagine freedom. The drawings featured in this exhibition present powerful evidence of the persistence of human creativity and argue for the necessity of art in the life of every human being.