Sustenance and Time
Sustenance and Time is a project that includes both inmates and family members coming together and changing things from within the system, both the prison system and the family system. By involving inmates and their families in self-actualization through creativity, society is directly influenced, the outside world becoming a safer place for everyone. The inclusive nature of the project promotes agency of the prisoners, presenting them not just as subjects, but also as direct contributors to the telling of their story. The classes started in January 2013 and will end December 2013.
February 4, 2013
Last week just Neisha and Shamiah were in class we discussed their self portraits, it was a great class. Shamiah thought she might be headed to prison and sure enough this week she was gone so I don’t know if I will be able to see her from the perspective interacting as an art teacher/photographer. But, I should be able to visit her so I can follow her with visits finding new ways to photograph her maybe a challenge as the project is visual. Neisha has been making work that describes her leadership skills and compassion for others. Today there were three new women we had a great class again. Shamiah left for prison last week so her presence was missed, but now we have Liz ,Megan, and Natalie. Natalie ended feeling like class wasn’t for her and she opted out. The women are creating a back drop for their portraits.
Ben and David were attacked last week week by other inmates, they were singled out because they participate in the project, I was really worried about them and fearful they would be kicked out of the class. I saw both of them today they are in isolation and will be for a month I had to speak to them through a small narrow glass as they were locked in a tiny cell. But both in good spirits and eager to continue with the project. I am really happy about their commitment . Now if I can get their family involved then that will be great. That part of the project is proving to be difficult to make happen.
Running an Art class in prison requires some serious patience on the part of myself, Sandra Price, and the inmates. The hardest part of the project so far is consistency, the one thing I have very little control over but I feel like as I continue the project and get to know the staff there will be more freedom of when I can teach the class.