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 - Where the Wild Things Are,


  • Gaia Del Negro says:

    I go to take a piece of tin foil from the last bar of dark chocolate in the fridge. Thomas talked about chocolate in prison and using tin foil to make art. Resource of hope. Small pleasure. Granted to whom? I drew the woman figure on the left of a cardboard with pastels starting from the head and hair, pink body, then added the foil like a flame on the right. Colours added in an arch shape, finally the arms reaching out to the flame. There is blue inside the body, the other colours are warm. Shopping bags won’t help- my woman has her arms out. Where is soul burning? Is voice coming from without, from gesture, connection? Imperfectly alive.

  • Helena says:


    • Helena says:

      Translation of the translation:

      “Kuvaat kauniisti naista jota kukaan ei kuule. Valta on muilla kuin sinulla. Haluaisin kuvata sinulle kasva silmisenä, rahan maailmassa, jossa naisen oikeudet eivät toimi.”

      “Your portrayal of a woman that no one can hear is beautiful. Power lies with anyone but you. I would like to express what personal growth looks like, in a world dominated by money and where women’s rights don’t work.”

      Ваше изображение женщины, которую никто не может услышать, прекрасно. Сила принадлежит вам. Я хотела бы выразить, как выглядит личностный рост в мире, где господствуют деньги и где права женщин не соблюдаются.

      • Free Translation says:

        Tomás’ response to Helena:
        One of the problems with this type of power is that no one is left satisfied and everyone involved is ultimately harmed. I have been on the other side of the equation and have used my status awarded by gender as an justification to not hear women. Was I often better off than my female counterparts? Yes. But after the fact I would have be hard pressed to call my self happy with these interactions. To participate in this type of transactional power is to harm oneself as well as others.

        So how do I answer these issues? Is it as simple as not engaging? Is it even my place to try?

        I don’t know the answers but I can make art that expresses my own confusion and frustration. I can have conversations with people on the other side of the world even though I am in prison. And by asking these questions, a dialogue can be created and empathy hopefully achieved.

        Одна из проблем с таким типом власти заключается в том, что никто не остается доволен, а все вовлеченные в конечном итоге пострадали. Я был на другой стороне уравнения и использовал свой статус, присуждаемый по признаку пола, как оправдание, чтобы не слышать женщин. Я был часто лучше, чем мои коллеги-женщины? Да. Но после этого мне было бы трудно назвать себя довольным этими взаимодействиями. Участвовать в этом типе транзакционной власти – значит вредить себе и другим.

        Так как мне ответить на эти вопросы? Просто не вовлекаться? Имею ли я право попробовать найти ответы?

        Я не знаю ответа, но я могу делать искусство, которое выражает мое собственное замешательство и разочарование. Я могу разговаривать с людьми на другом конце света, хотя я в тюрьме. И, задавая эти вопросы, можно создать диалог и, надеюсь, найти эмпатию.

  • Joslyn says:

    Translation of “Where the Wild Things Are”

    • Joslyn says:

      Indirect translation: I drew the central figure in “Where the Wild Things Are” in the center of my page, leaving it simply outlined in black. I tried to leave it looking gentle and soft since this is why it stood out so much in the original. I drew the brown window overlapping the figure but leaving the sides open. Light orange lines come out from the bottom left corner and just into the figure. Similar but shorter lines in red orange come from the bottom right. Red lines come down from the top left corner, and purple from the top right.

      Косвенный перевод: я нарисовала центральную фигуру в «Where the Wild Things Are» в центре моей страницы, оставив ее просто обведенной черным. Я старалась, чтобы она выглядел нежно и мягко, потому что именно поэтому он так сильно выделялся в оригинале. Я нарисовал коричневое окно, перекрывающее фигуру, но оставила стороны открытыми. Светло-оранжевые линии выходят из нижнего левого угла прямо на фигуру. Аналогичные, но более короткие линии в красном оранжевом цвете идут снизу справа. Красные линии спускаются из верхнего левого угла, а фиолетовые – из верхнего правого.

      • Free Translation says:

        Tomás’ response to Joslyn:
        From of a rectangular scrap of cardboard, I cut out a wide window and a figure to its left. The figure is done in sharp angles but blunted into a smooth lines in some places. I then affixed the cut out figure so it overlaps with both the window and the space from which it came. A slice of triangular cardboard was wedged onto the figure to create the impression of long hair flowing over her left shoulder. The left side of the cardboard canvas has been cut into a strip and taped back on but at an angle. There is no color to the piece.

        Томас ответил Джослин:
        Из прямоугольного куска картона я вырезал широкое окно и фигурку слева от нее. Фигура выполнена под острыми углами, но местами притуплена к плавным линиям. Затем я прикрепил вырезанную фигуру так, чтобы она пересекалась как с окном, так и с пространством, из которого она вышла. Кусок треугольного картона был втиснут на фигуру, чтобы создать впечатление длинных волос, струящихся по ее левому плечу. Левая сторона картонной канвы была разрезана на полосу и наклеена обратно, но под углом. цвета нет.

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