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Photo 1: Untitled piece by Ira Smith
Photo 2: “Floreso Volucris” by Kendrick Cook
Special to the News
By Jakiya Dudley
Art comes in many forms and is based on a single individual’s imagination and perception of reality.
The creativity of art allows one to freely express themself while provoking curiosity. The popular phrase “beauty is in the eye of the beholder” comes to life when defining art. For some people, art can be a therapeutic route to communicate and emotionally connect with others.
I had the opportunity to visit the Changing the Course art exhibition displayed at the Alabama Department of Archives and History in Montgomery, which showcased pieces designed by the currently and formerly incarcerated. I viewed a variety of art pieces ranging from self-portraits to wildlife paintings.
Although the museum was quiet, many of the illustrations spoke volumes. It was fascinating to look into the minds of people who see the world so differently from me.
Some of the drawings were vivid and full of movement while others were dim and motionless. Many of them captured the raw beauty of nature, while others displayed a unique perspective of the illustrator’s placement in the world. The creative titles of each design, such as “Neglected Emotions,” “Memories and Time,” and “Lifeline” helped tell the tales.
The illustration most interesting to me was drawn by Ira Smith in 2017. It pictured an animal’s body with a human-like face in a box. There was a barcode placed on the forehead and numbers on the body. This drawing depicted how incarcerated individuals may feel as if they are domesticated objects, with only a number to identify them.
Another drawing that stood out to me was titled “Floreso Volucris,” which translates into flower birds. It depicted beautiful peacocks with colorful flowers above their heads. The birds’ feathers were nicely detailed and color choices were eye catching. This drawing provided a sense of realism and captivated my mind.
Many of the breathtaking illustrations drawn by the currently and formerly incarcerated of Alabama prisons make valuable statements. Pure talent and imaginative power filled the room.
The Changing the Course art exhibition was a memorable experience that you can participate in, as well. Visit the Alabama Department of Archives and History, located at 624 Washington Avenue, before April 15 to view the exhibit firsthand and gain insight on compelling expressions.
Note: This editorial was written by Jakiya Dudley, who is currently a senior in Troy University’s Broadcast Journalism program and is an intern in the Alabama Bureau of Pardons and Paroles Communications Department.