September 25 - Nine inmates from a French penitentiary select works of art for an exhibition. Sharon Reich reports.
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This exhibition is a historical tour that crosses continents.
But the discovery themed exhibit has a twist - it's located in this prison outside of Paris … and was curated by a group of inmates.
The exhibition is entitled "Journey", a provocative but deliberate choice explains Djamal, one of the cons turned curator.
SOUNDBITE: Prisoner and curator Djamal saying (French):
"Every Wednesday afternoon when we got together to prepare the exhibition, we left these walls. We discovered new places, we discovered Asia, Oceania, some Oceanic islands, we discovered lots of painters and sculptors."
Prisoners spent about a year selecting the works, which are mostly on loan from public collections.
Vincent Gille from the Victor Hugo museum was happy to help organize the project. He says the men used to talk about robberies and crime, but now they are focused on art and the meaning behind it.
SOUNDBITE: Exhibition co-organizer Vincent Gille saying (French):
"So there are some of them who have started to read art history, who have carried out research, who have put up different sorts of pictures in their cells. Yes of course their relationship with art has changed, it was one of the aims of the project, I got involved partly for that too."
While the works on loan will be released when the exhibition closes in November, prison officials say they are open to the possiblity of inmates planning new shows in the future.
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