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)prisonspace.org. 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)prisonspace.org or mailed to:
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 www.prisonspace.org, www.translationisdialogue.org and www.facebook.com/prisonspace
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)prisonspace.org.
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 www.prisonspace.org, www.translationisdialogue.org and www.facebook.com/prisonspace.
Thank you and we look forward to seeing your artwork!
Anastasia Artemeva & Arlene Tucker
Thinking of you and await peace
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.
Translation of “Where the Wild Things Are”
Indirect translation of Tomás, Sugar Substitute
There are the eyes of the woman at the top left of a white page. Underneath I drew the shape of the shoulders, contracted and muscular, and where the clavicles converge I drew her mouth. The mouth is linked with the right arm by the word Sugar as if hanging between shoulder and mouth. The line of the left arm also shows the shape of the movement of the hand, leaning on the bottom with the word Cane. On top of the eyes the lines of the hair. Colours are red and blue.
В левом верхнем углу белой страницы – глаза женщины. Внизу я нарисовала форму плеч, сжатых и мускулистых, и там, где сходятся ключицы, я нарисовал ее рот. Рот связан с правой рукой словом «Сахар», словно висит между плечом и ртом. Линия левой руки также показывает форму движения руки, опираясь на дно со словом Cane. На верхушках глаз линии волос. Цвета – красный и синий.
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.
I took more stuff but then made it more simple. From Anastasia’s drawing. June 2020
From stone to air somehow it all started to melt into one another. June 2020.
I was attracted by this poem that I could not read, with already a translation I could read, then I saw the statue of a woman with a child, by the same author Оксана Крутицкая (Oksana Krytickaya). So, my translation of the poem was influenced by the statue. And viceversa. I felt heavy and fluid at the same time while drawing the shape.I copied the words. Words worlds.
A view from a window
A view from a video screen
This is a translation of Jhenna El-Sawaf’s artwork. As I was following the lines, I started to think about the people living in the buildings. As we have been in quarantine for some time, are we ready to leave or caves?
Pen, acrylic paint
Greeting card by Lucille (inside), September 2019
Greeting card by Lucille (cover), September 2019
Letter from Iines 2, September 2019
Letter from Iines 1, September 2019
Interactive interpretation by Pablo (open), September 2019.
Interactive interpretation by Pablo (closed), September 2019.
People begging for help escape
The human suffering an intangled. sometimes our positionalities are preventing us from experiencing the suffering and desperation of other people. Though we are same yet similarly impacted by destiny.
Trees, lost, trapped, choking, tired
Faces – shouting – Munk
Hands on trees’ roots
Shouting face to face
We are all connected
In a prison of gazes
Despair, longing, searching, intertwined, anger, inescapable
People trapped. Suffering.
Twisted lives, struggle to get out, hands tightly holding on to ropes.
Writing on a wall
A skeleton is a starting point.
A translation via a shared process, moving through ins and outs, releasing and unpressuring.
Russian to English translation:
I got out of prison
* meeting my close ones
* how I look
* work *family, children
* get married beautifully”
1.My own power: being positive, organised, firm, confident.
2. My family and friends.
4. Girl with a strong personality. – This lady will not get pushed around!
1. Mortgage (If you don’t pay, your apartment can be taken away)
2. Loan (but you must pay it back on time)
3. Personal savings
4. Equipment (we have a sewing machine)
5. Time (an opportunity to focus on your business)
6. Sew at home
7. Support from the government
Time changes our world
Автопортрет + дождь
Who am I?
Don’t give up!
Don’t give up on life no matter how hard it Pushes u!!
Remarkable! Every image is in transition, running, reaching for, the solidity of the strong buildings in the front! Progress has begun but there’s still work to be done!
"Jailbird" from Minna Hint on Vimeo.
“From the bottom of my heart. Electrostal city.” 2019
Translation by Maria, 15 y.o. from Electrostal, Russia
“Flying even though wings are down”. Translation made in Joutsa, Finland, June 2022.