There’s a fascinating exhibition right now at the SDSU Downtown Gallery. It’s titled Spaces from Yesterday and features the artwork of three San Quentin inmates.
The artwork was created in collaboration with San Quentin State Prison art teacher Amy M. Ho, who also has a few related pieces in the exhibition. But the work that I found most interesting came directly from the hands of the inmates.
All three of the artists summon happy memories from their childhood. These images are warm, but also hard-edged and unpeopled. One work, The Hallway by Dennis Crookes, almost looks like a long, harsh, narrow prison hallway that finally leads to a home’s light-filled kitchen.
I could find no explanation why these three were incarcerated in the San Quentin correctional complex, which contains California’s only death row for male inmates. That would seem to be an essential part of the story, and might explain certain qualities of the art. But the anecdotes that are written do reveal a common yearning for a past life that is fondly remembered.
The following photos show a description of each piece, followed by the actual artwork.
Spaces from Yesterday will be on display through January 28, 2018. Those interested in art, creativity, and often hidden aspects of human life should check it out. Admission to the SDSU Downtown Gallery is free.
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