On March 11, from 7 to 9 p.m., Prisoner Express will hold the reception for its 7th annual prisoner art exhibition. The exhibition, which runs from March 11 to March 27, will be held at the Big Red Barn.

The artwork from several projects from the past year will be presented.

The artwork, which comes from across the country, is part of the “Points of a Compass” art project, in which prisoners are asked to orient themselves in relationship to the earth. The curriculum asks, “Where is the horizon in prison? How does the earth reveal itself to you? How do you see the sky? Where is the sun when you wake up in the morning?” The hope is that the questions imply, “Yes, you have a place in this world.” The drawings are the prisoners’ answers.

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Seeing the Sky, by Robert Deninno

Another art project asks prisoners to create a series of self-portraits underscoring the fluidity of self through different aspects of portraiture. This project is based on the idea that the self is always changing, an experience of which stands in total opposition to the basic premise of incarceration that does not allow a changing self.

The work of several artists who have been continuous in their active participation with the arts of Prisoner Express will be highlighted also.

Prisoners Express receives many letters from so many people who are incarcerated throughout the United States. With these letters, there are often indications that the prisoner has not seen the sky for some time. As one inmate noted, “I haven’t seen the sky for 10 years. When you go out today – look up at it for me.”

For more information about this show or the Prisoner Express project send an email to alt-lib@cornell.edu.

This news brief originally ran on ithaca.com.

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