Prison Art Show at Queens Museum

5 Jul

Artwork is on display at the Queens Museum from artists incarcerated on Rikers Island. The New York Times ran the following story about the exhibit. Be sure to scroll through the images in the article to view the artwork:

At Queens Museum, Inmates’ Artistic Visions

By SEWELL CHAN
 

They fell into trouble with the law, but now they are making art as they pursue their studies.

A variety of artwork — paintings, drawings, poems, plays and even pocketbooks made from newspapers — will be on view at the Queens Museum of Art tomorrow through July 5. The works were created by jail inmates at Rikers Island and juvenile delinquents participating in city-run programs for youthful offenders.

The participants in the show are working toward high school diplomas or General Educational Development high school equivalency diplomas, at the Austin H. MacCormick Island Academy and the Horizons Academy, on Rikers Island, and the Passages Academy, which works with juvenile delinquents in Queens, Brooklyn and the Bronx.

For legal and privacy reasons, the artists are identified only by their first names and last initials. The organizers of the art show wrote in a short catalog accompanying the exhibition:

During the three years in which we have produced this joint art show, we have learned that to underestimate the creative potential of young minds is to waste an opportunity to witness the ability of the human spirit. These students continue to thrive under extreme and exceptional circumstances. The creative potential is unlocked by the commitment and relentless determination of great teachers.

The title of the exhibition, “Underestimate Me…No More,” was inspired by a poem by one young artist, Antoine B. The poem states, in part:

I will show you my worth
Show you my value
Underestimate me
Doubt me

 

Never
No More
I will rise
I will rise 2 every occasion
And I will continue to rise
Even when u think I’m falling

 

And when the dust settles
And you c me again!
You’ll underestimate this man
Never more!!!

 

NY1 also ran a story on the exhibit. Check out this video clip to hear interviews with family members of the artists and see some of the art displayed at the gallery. 

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