F Marquespenteado (1955 - )


    In 2001, I became involved in embroidery, or more precisely hand stitching workshops within male prisons. Disappointed with the exclusively charitable agenda to which I was volunteering I ran a more creative workshop with the inmates, they would narrate their own drawings. This experience served as a pilot project and extended into a new project (the Prison Speech project) I studied the vernacular generated by prison life and prepared hand-stitched and machine-stitched images around it. I concentrated my visual/embroidered research on verbs (being the type of words that express, par excellence, the active presence of confrontation and tension within the prison system). I also looked at the tensions involved in having to work out one's emotional and sexual life within an exclusively male prison environment. At that point in my research I was using a 4-colour palette that I left behind when I realised that the monochromatic black on black fulfilled my contextual requests. Black was for me the evocation of a future, a beyond, so the black work claimed a larger, more equitable social focus for the prison system. In visual terms the use of black also demands more time to relate to the work, to read the intriguing yet obvious drawing. Moving to the photographs. I had the honour and privilege of interviewing a few inmates and prison officers in their own cells and working spaces; hence this series. I considered them as a group, a cycle within my experience in prisons. They are to be presented vertically, in a predetermined sequence and orientation; for me the photographs contain a compositional force that strengthens their content.

    f.marquespenteado, 2002

    (Excerpted from a letter accompanying the donation of works)


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