F Marquespenteado (1955 - )

booty check (2001)

Machine stitching and hand stiching on denim and wool
height: 40cm
width: 44cm

Donated by F Marquespenteado 2003


f.marquespenteado's voluntary involvement with the Prison Service resulted in the development of a project entitled Prison Speech (2002) for which this series of works are a precedent. Out of a prison employment programme run by the charity Fine Cell Work, f.marquespenteado developed a series of more creative workshops at Wandsworth Prison. These workshops recreated the oral tradition of the sewing-circle, with inmates giving accounts of their experiences on the inside, which they then made into sewed drawings.

Emphasising this narrative aspect, f.marquespenteado identified a vocabulary specific to life in prison and produced this series of works: Prison Vernacular. He was particularly interested in how inmates establish personal and sexual relationships within the confines of prison life. Therefore as well as 'nick' (the common vernacular meaning 'prison' or, as a verb, 'to be arrested') and 'booty check' (prison slang for an intimate bodily examination) are 'flip flop' and 'butched in': terms which are used to describe different aspects of the sexual life of prisons (the first describes a change in power relations occurring within a long-term prison relationship and the second, the use of sexual favours as a currency for other favours).

Isobel Whitelegg, 2008

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