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Free translation is a multi-disciplinary exhibition showcasing international works generated from an open call to incarcerated people, ex-convicts, and anyone affected by imprisonment. What you are experiencing is the online version of the Free Translation exhibition, which premiered at MAA-tila in Helsinki from November 15-29, 2018 as part of Prison Outside #2.

The open call for artworks is ongoing and open to all ages. This exhibition makes use of the translation process as we interact and create new artworks in the gallery space and online. Your works on view will encourage the audience to prompt dialogue, inspire thoughts, and creatively activate the space. Your voice is heard and recognized.

Your artistic contribution is very much appreciated. Works can be emailed to or mailed to:

Free Translation
℅ Pixelache
Kaasutehtaankatu 1
00580 Helsinki

On the online gallery under each picture there is the possibility for you to interpret or comment on that piece. It can be in text, visual, or video format. Your translations and interpretations inspires more thoughts, feelings, and perspectives to be shared and to be sparked.

Prison Outside is centred on the subjects of imprisonment, justice, and the role of the arts in the relationships between people in prisons and people outside. We are interested in perceptions of incarcerated people and ex-convicts in the society, and how we can break the stereotypes and support each other. We focus on artistic practices, be it prisoners’ own initiatives or designed educational projects that promote self-expression, solidarity and communication between people of all walks of life. We also offer a platform for production of artistic projects related to imprisonment, currently with a focus on Finland and Russia.

To keep up to date on Free Translation happenings, please check, and

Prison Outside has been continuously supported by Kone Foundation.


Free Translation is a continuously growing online gallery that exhibits art by people affected by incarceration. The viewer’s contributed interpretation to the works exhibited open dialogue and unknown perspectives to be revealed.

You are welcome to submit a piece of work by emailing Arlene Tucker at Please state the title of the piece, your name or pseudonym, and date. You are free to use any medium that best expresses your idea. It is also possible to submit artwork via post.

Free Translation is a collaborative initiative between Translation is Dialogue and Prison Outside. Keep informed of happenings by visiting and

Please note that the artist is responsible for posting the artworks to be included in the exhibition. By sending us your artworks you give consent to putting them on Prison Space and Translation is Dialogue websites, social media outlets, and including them in the exhibition in Helsinki and online. If for any reason, you wish to be anonymous, please state that clearly. We reserve a right to exhibit a selected number of works.

Thank you and we look forward to seeing your artwork!

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Letter from Natasha, 2019. Natasha is serving a sentence in a detention camp in Russia. She writes: … I’m currently working with a lawyer (I am entitled to one free of charge) to get a place to live. I grew up in an orphanage, and I am entitled to some money and an apartment. I have been fighting with “them” for the past 18 years. If I don’t get a place to live before I’m released, in September 2020, I will be homeless. My friends, if there is one who I can stay with once I’m realised, I will just die, as one of them takes drugs, and another drinks vodka. I don’t want to and I will not die this way. This is why I am asking, please help me, by sending me some warm clothes that I can wear on my realise day. The is an abandoned house I know, there isn’t much there just doors and windows, no electricity or a stove. But still, I’ll survive. Elena, with respect, I will need winter boots, size 37, a coat, a long one so it covers the knees, size 46. My height is 1m 63cm, a hat, mittens, warm socks and warm tights. If you happen to have clothes that are suitable for me, I would appreciate it very much. I’m very sorry to bother you. And I’m sorry if I’ve upset you in any way. Thank you for everything you have done, for the medicine you have sent. All the best to you, stay well! - A letter from Natasha / Письмо от Наташи,


  • Free Translation says:

    A reply created during Free Translation Session in Moscow in October 2019:

    Wishing you inner strength. You are wonderful and unique.

    Hello Natalia,

    Thank you for your honest and true letter. The difficult situation You found yourself in cannot be made easy (right now) but I would like to say to you:

    Regardless of your past and your present, your life still belongs to You. I have never met You, but I can say for sure that your heart if beautiful, You are strong. And now, after the year 2020 (you wrote about it) you will resolve your situation, You will not die, you will overcome your hardship.

    Thank you that You exist. 2019.

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