Sérgio Sister integrates The Pencil Is a Key, an exhibition of historical and contemporary drawings by incarcerated people from all over the globe. Works by artists who were or currently are prisoners will be juxtaposed with drawings by prisoners who became artists while incarcerated. The exhibition will also present drawings by members of contemporary American prison populations who found their talent through prison art programs, as well as collections of works by anonymous contemporary artist incarcerates working in drawing genres specific to prison life.
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Drawing is vital to those in captivity; it is a vehicle through which they proclaim their individuality, express their hope, and imagine their freedom. The drawings featured in this exhibition present powerful evidence of the persistence of human creativity in the most inhumane of circumstances and argue for the necessity of art—in the form of drawing—to the life of every human being. Created in extreme circumstances, the drawings in this show are weapons in the fight for justice, records that bear witness to terrible circumstances, containers of memory, and portals to a better future. Their very existence is of great significance, but their genius offers the proof of drawing’s purpose as well as the clearest explanation of why institutions like The Drawing Center must continue to present art to the public.