Photo Requests from Solitary, an art project sponsored by Solitary Watch, invites people in solitary confinement to request an image of anything, real or imagined, and finds volunteers on the outside to make the images for them. Since April 20, a special site-specific exhibition of Photo Request from Solitary has been at the Brooklyn Public Library, organized around the question, “What would someone in solitary confinement want to see?”

During the exhibition period, project organizers encouraged viewers and others to create as many images as possible to fulfill open requests, and upload them to the project website. We received dozens of photographs, drawings, and Photoshopped images created for people in solitary confinement. A few samples appear below.

On June 20, Brooklyn Public Library will host a finale event for the exhibition, which ends on July 1. A roundtable of artists, designers, advocates, and a survivor of solitary confinement will present requests and images and lead a discussion about the project, art and activism, solitary confinement, and mass incarceration, while celebrating the imagery made through a creative collaboration that spans prison walls. Participants who have filled requests during this exhibition are invited to come and present their work at the finale event.

The event is free and open to the public, and all are welcome. Please come early or stay late to view the exhibition! If you plan to attend, please register for the event here:  https://www.bklynlibrary.org/calendar/you-made-what-they-wanted-central-library-info-20190620.

You Made What They Wanted to See: Images for People in Solitary Confinement
Thursday, June 20, 6:30–8:00 pm
Brooklyn Public Library, Information Commons (back left of the Grand Lobby)
10 Grand Army Plaza, Brooklyn, New York

Follow @Photos2Solitary on Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook to stay connected!

Explore photorequestsfromsolitary.org to find request to fill.

Visit nycaic.org/action to learn how you can help end solitary confinement in New York State.

The exhibition of Photo Requests from Solitary at the Brooklyn Public Library was supported by a grant from the Shelley & Donald Rubin Foundation. Special thanks to Cora Fisher, Curator of Visual Art Programming at the Brooklyn Public Library, for making this exhibition possible.

 

Rawle Jackman created this photo for a person using the name UFO (Unity Fights Oppression), who is currently held in a Pennsylvania state prison. UFO said, "I would like a photo of New York, especially Brooklyn, I am more into the scenes of everyday movements in New York. The train, people going to work, pictures of food, especially pizza, fashion and the music scene, drummers on pale buckets, breakdancers, etc."

Rawle Jackman created this photo for a person using the name UFO (Unity Fights Oppression), who is currently held in a Pennsylvania state prison. UFO said, “I would like a photo of New York, especially Brooklyn, I am more into the scenes of everyday movements in New York. The train, people going to work, pictures of food, especially pizza, fashion and the music scene, drummers on pale buckets, breakdancers, etc.”

Noni, held at a Pennsylvania prison, asked for "a photo of a 'Adult Male Lion & Four Cubs.' It will represent: me as the father and my three sons and one daughter... because my family calls me 'The Crying Lion' and I love my kids — (my cubs) and I will protect them with my life. Please place 4 tear-drops under the right eye of the male adult lion and 1 tear-drop under each of the right eye of each cub... This is a must. Please!" Image by: Tiffany Mcillwain

Noni, held in solitary in a Pennsylvania prison, asked for “a photo of a ‘Adult Male Lion & Four Cubs.’ It will represent: me as the father and my three sons and one daughter… because my family calls me ‘The Crying Lion’ and I love my kids — (my cubs) and I will protect them with my life. Please place 4 tear-drops under the right eye of the male adult lion and 1 tear-drop under each of the right eye of each cub… This is a must. Please!” Image by: Tiffany Mcillwain

Susan Donovan created this collage for Miguel, who is held in a California prison. Miguel asked to see "the pyramids of Chichén Itzá, in Southern Mexico, and art sculptures on or around the pyramids."

Miguel, who is in solitary in a California prison, asked to see “the pyramids of Chichén Itzá, in Southern Mexico, and art sculptures on or around the pyramids.” Image by: Susan Donovan

Steven created this image for Yafis "Boo Rock" held in Fayette prison in Pennsylvania. Boo Rock requested to see "a photograph of the superhero Black Panther with the Philadelphia skyline behind him or the street sign of the block I lived on behind him (65th St + Greenway Ave)."

Yafis “Boo Rock,” held in solitary in Pennsylvania, requested to see “a photograph of the superhero Black Panther with the Philadelphia skyline behind him or the street sign of the block I lived on behind him (65th St + Greenway Ave).” Image by: Steven

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