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

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Tomás - She was Real,


  • Yulia says:

    «Я смотрела на изображение девушки в« Она была настоящей ». Ее маленький каркас тела заставил меня задуматься о каждом маленьком существе на Земле, о жуках и, например, о шелковом черве и о том, как мы все важны в глазах Бога. Это напомнило мне песню, поэтому мой перевод – это песня ».

    Юля тогда играла на гитаре и пела песню на русском языке.

    “I was looking at the image of the girl in “She was real”. Her small body frame made me think of every small creature on Earth, bugs and for example a silkworm and how we are all important in God’s eyes. It reminded me of a song, so my translation is a song.”

    Yulia then played the guitar and sang a song in Russian language.

    • Free Translation says:

      Tomás’ response to Yulia’s translation:
      As I read your true words about the universal value we all share, I can’t help but be repulsed by the imagery of bugs. I have always hated them, I tell myself, even if God does not. Why do I feel this way, I ask myself in my room as I figure how to your respond to your translation. Suddenly, I am reminded of when, as a child, I was chased around the playground by a girl holding a dead bug. I had just asked her to be my girlfriend and she had just said no. I remember choosing to overreact about the bug, of running from her with hot tears on my cheek, and deciding to hate bugs. I don’t remember her name, or what she looked like, or really anything about her but I still hate bugs.

      Ответ Томаса на перевод Юлии:
      Когда я читаю ваши истинные слова об универсальной ценности, которую мы все разделяем, я не могу не отбиваться от образов ошибок. Я всегда ненавидел их, говорю я себе, даже если Бог этого не делает. Почему я так себя чувствую, я спрашиваю себя в своей комнате, когда я думаю, как ответить на ваш перевод. Внезапно мне вспоминается, когда в детстве меня на детская площадка за мной бегала девочка с мертвым жуком. Я только что попросил ее стать моей girlfriend, а она просто сказала “нет”. Я помню, как решил слишком остро отреагировать именно на жука, убежать от нее с горячими слезами на моей щеке и принять решение ненавидеть жуков. Я не помню ее имени, или как она выглядела, или вообще ничего о ней, но я все еще ненавижу жуков.

  • Kaija says:

    “(Tyttö) Punatukkainen tyttö”

    • Kaija says:

      Translation of the translation:

      “Attention was first drawn to the red hair that is at the center. The girl is wearing a black dress in which she wants to hide. She is insecure, standing on her lean legs insecurely. The gaze is empty, sad eyes. A serious and earnest mouth. Why is she sad? What has happened? I really like your work a lot.

      I drew red hair inside a black dress. Eyes, mouth, legs I separated and put them next to the dress in my drawing.”

      “Huomio kiinnityi ensimmäiseksi punaisiin hiuksiin, jotka ovat keskiössä. Tyttö on pukeutunut mustaan mekkoon, johon hän tahtoo piiloutua. Hän on epävarma, seisoo laihoilla jaloillaan epävarmasti. Katse on tyhjä, surulliset silmät. Totinen suu. Miksi hän on surullinen? Mitä on tapahtunut? Pidän teoksestasi todella paljon.

      Piirsin punaiset hiukset mustaan mekon sisään. Silmät, suu, jalat erotin mekon viereen piirroksessani.”

      • Free Translation says:

        Tomás’ response to Kaija:
        What great questions. Why is she so sad…

        “Look at that bitch. I’d f— her”, says the man behind me, unprompted, as I paint a portrait of a woman.
        “Naw, why’d you make her so ugly?” asks another man who just walked up.
        “Still f— her” smugly replies the first.
        Satisfied with their input on my painting, they wander off amicably.

        While in prison, separated from women and surrounded by other men, I have learned a lot about myself and the society that I came from. I wonder about the social roles that I have asked others to play and how they must have felt in them. I wonder why I never asked these questions before.

  • Emily Kombe says:

  • emily kombe says:

    I was drawn to this women’s arms. They are so small and so pale, in contrast to the dress, that you can barely see them. I decided to translate the arms a few times on top of each other.

    • Free Translation says:

      Tomás’response to Emily’s translation: “I responded to the focus of just her small, pale arms by drawing them reattached to a billowing dress. But this time, the dress was empty space, and the arms, while still small, were now bold and strong in red pastel.”

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