When a person commits a crime or offense, he/she will be incarcerated. Therefore, incarceration is a method by which the United States uses to punish and rehabilitate those individuals who have committed an offense such as drug trafficking, murder, rape, and other criminal activities. The paper focuses on the critical analysis of the article “For the incarcerated Drawing is a lifeline” written by Hilarie M. Sheets. The article has focused on how several people who have been incarcerated in different prisons have been able to use art in presenting their ideas and emotions. The use of art has been of great influence to prisoners in giving them a source of hope and showing them that life still exists.
Different prisoners have used art to cope with incarceration. People such as Valentino Dixon, Zehra Dogan, Gustave Courbet, and other poisoners have explained how they have been able to use their artistic skills to visualize their freedom. An exhibition and drawing center have been created known as the Pencil is a key, which is managed by Laura Hoptman as the director of the museum. Mr. Dixon, for example, is one of the prisoners who served twenty-six years in prison for charges of murder (Sheets 2019). His uncle stimulated him to use art which he was good at during his childhood to be able to cope with the Incarceration life. Being in prison is like being in a closed place where one can not be able to socialize with the public. Dixon used toimagine Golf courses and drew them, from his artistic he was able to come out of the prison with more than nine hundred pictures.
Art has also encouraged people to open their own art workshop and earn them a living. When people practice the art while in incarceration, they can be able to manage their life with art after completing their sentence. The artwork creates job opportunities for prisoners when they are freed. For instance, Dixon’s drawing has earned him $30,000 (Sheets 2019). MS. Hoptman also was interested in art and according to the article, he says that those people who were absorbedin art, continued to do it even after they were freed from prison.
Art can also be used as a tool to show the human lifeline. Art can be used to show how life is connected with art and also how humans can define themselves (Brewster 2014). For example,Zehra Dogan, a journalist who was imprisoned for drawing an image that had a lot of criticism. The use of art was very influential because it enabled other prisoners to use a different type of exhibition that is rarely used to present their thoughts. Ruth Asawa, on the other hand, showcased the Sumo wrestlers in art and it showed the custom of Japanese society.
Art is also used to create a revolution in government. When leaders do not respect people’s rights and opinions, activists rise to oppose the government and to protect the people in different ways (Karakas 2019). For instance,Azzah Abo used art to create a revolution that enhanced activism against president Bashar of Syria. Zehra Dogan who was a journalist was also imprisoned because of his art that was considered criticizing the Turkish administration, this resulted to be denied apparatus used in drawing while in prison.
Generally, the exhibition was created to prove to the public that prisoners are not always bad people and that they can create good things that have positive meanings. The drawing center was also developed to develop a place where people could use to view artwork that has been created by people from a varietyof institutions. Prisoners have always been considered as bad people, but the exhibition works to change the mentality of the public. As the study has expressed different prisoners who are regarded to use their artistic style to achieve different positive results for the benefit of the public or themselves.
Brewster, Larry. “The Impact of Prison Arts Programs on Inmate Attitudes and Behaviour.” Justice Policy Journal (2014).
Karakas, Burcu. “Zehra Dogan: Turkeys rebel with a pen and a paintbrush.” Deutsche Welle (2019).
Sheets, Hilarie M. “For the Incarcerated, Drawing Is a Lifeline.” The New York Times (2019).
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