free translation >< свободный перевод >< vapaa käännös


Free Translation is a multi-disciplinary project showcasing international works by currently and formerly incarcerated people as well as anyone affected by imprisonment. What you are experiencing is the online version of the Free Translation exhibition. In this project we use translation techniques as a means of creatively interpreting works of art and word. This means that we interpret the meaning of the works and create new works of art based on the translations. This can be a translation into another language or another medium. For example, a poem can be manifested into a photograph and a drawing can be written as a letter. In this way, we make new works of art and literature, and get closer to understanding ourselves and each other as we open dialogue.

The Online Gallery

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 inspire more thoughts, feelings, and perspectives to be shared and to be sparked.

How to translate:

+ Select an artwork from the online gallery that speaks to you.

+ Look at it carefully and read it. What is this artwork trying to communicate to you?

+ Using creative means available to you such as pen, paper, recycled materials or your mobile phone camera/word processor create a response to the work. What feelings and thoughts does it inspire in you? How does that feeling translate into a color or a shape, for example?

+ In addition or as an alternative, feel free to translate the work into another language.

Email your translation to info(at) Include the title of the piece, date, materials, and author, if you would like these to be posted along with your artwork. You can directly upload your own response/translation to the artwork at the bottom of the artwork where it says ‘Add your interpretation’.

Visitors of the website, art exhibitions and workshops we hold will see your creative response. We always will try to make sure the responses are seen by their authors.

Open Call for Source Texts

We invite folks affected by incarceration to submit a work in any means of creative expression, be it a drawing, a photograph or a poem or any other technique that speaks to you. The open call is ongoing and open to all ages. The works submitted will appear online and in any future exhibitions in Finland and abroad.

This exhibition makes use of the translation process as we interact and create new artworks in response to the original artwork. Your work on view encourages the audience to prompt dialogue, inspire thoughts, and creatively activate the space. Your voice is heard and recognized.

You are welcome to submit a piece of work to be included in the Free Translation exhibition. Include the title of the piece, date, materials, and author, if you would like these to be posted along with your artwork

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

Free Translation
Kaasutehtaankatu 1
00580 Helsinki

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 exhibitions in public spaces 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.

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

We hope to see you there!

Anastasia Artemeva & Arlene Tucker


Free Translation is a continuously growing interactive space that exhibits art by people affected by incarceration. Please feel free to contact us at info(at)

Free Translation Sessions is a collaboration of two projects: Prison Outside and Translation is Dialogue (TID). We are based in Helsinki, Finland. Prison Outside focuses on the role of the arts in subjects of imprisonment, justice, and in the relationships between people in prisons and people outside. TID is an ongoing art curation that generates a new project every time it is presented. TID uses translation techniques to not only produce art, but also understand what is being communicated.

To keep up to date and learn more about our projects, please visit, and

Thank you and we look forward to seeing your artwork!


Anastasia Artemeva & Arlene Tucker

close next prev
Tomás - Desire,


  • Arlene says:

    “Collar bones”

    • Arlene says:

      Translation of the translation:

      “The sharpness of her frame and angles of her inner structure led the way for the lines on in my drawing. I just drew what I followed with my eye. One color at a time. The box of oil pastels, an extended rainbow, gave me choices to see where the next river would run. After a while I stopped looking and just let the lines, colors, and the play of neighboring cascades lead the way. Maybe the colorful abstraction I created was a hope I have for her. Maybe it’s what she wants for herself. Maybe it’s what she would like to see when she takes the blindfold off.”

  • Hanna-Leena says:


    • Hanna-Leena says:

      Translation of my translation of “Desire”.

      The work is crumpled brown paper bent in a human form with bent arms. The head is covered torn brown paper.

      Interpretation of the work “Desire”
      I only want to sleep.

      Getting away from the world.

      I want to forget, forget, forget forget forgetforgetforget

      Please let me rest

      • Response from Tomás says:

        Sketched on a piece of cardboard is the back of a woman on her side. There is very little form to the figure, mostly negative space and light charcoal lines. Her head is propped up and she is looking and way from us. Above her, pressing down on her, is a large mass of very dark and loosely applied black pastel. Scribbled to the side, “In the dead of night, I struggle to wake.”

  • Anastasia says:

    Looking at..

    • Anastasia says:

      Anastasia: The description of my translation of “Desire”.
      Female curves. Body lines, hair lines. Two eyes closed. Another one eye open – an eye of a surveillance camera. Big shiny, glimmering, glimpsing, watching with desire, gazing.
      A list of words written in thick black marker, words in Russian and in English. Some words legible, some unreadable. I can make out: “more…beauty…eye…hands..”
      The page torn at the bottom, split.
      The colours are blue and pink and black, but cold, unlike the source painting.

      • Response from Tomás: says:

        Warmth comes from within
        in a world that is so cold.

        Dark blues, reds, and purples impose themselves around a central figure. She is a muddy yellow, something organic compared to the color around her. Her figure is slightly distorted, abstracted, without detail. Her hands, gentle, graceful, indistinct claws, reach up to her face. She appears to have no eyes, but perhaps they have yet to be added by the artist. Her mouth is red and quite vivid. She can speak.

        • Joslyn says:

          This is my translation of Tomas’ reply to Anastasia. I really liked how vividly he described his image, so I tried to show how I pictured his words.

Leave a Reply to Anastasia Cancel reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *