EAST LANSING, Mich. — This week, the Eli and Edythe Broad Art Museum at Michigan State University opened several exhibits focusing on mass incarceration.
The “Free Your Mind: Art and Incarceration in Michigan" exhibit features works from women and men who are currently and formerly behind bars, a view of the world from their tiny cells.
Monica Ramírez-Montagut heads up the museum and says learning about women in this situation through the exhibit "Per(Sister): Incarcerated Women of the United States" really touched her.
“Eighty percent of the women in the prison system are mothers. Listening to their stories we get to hear how difficult it is to be mothering from far away. It's hard enough to be a mother, but imagine having to do that from an incarceration perspective,” said Ramírez-Montagut.
The exhibitions feature artwork done in all kinds of mediums, including, pictures, paintings, dress sculptures, elaborate printings, meticulous crochet work as well as video.
“These exhibitions explore the mass incarceration system particularly here in the United States. What happens in the facilities which remains highly invisible to the layperson. It also explores the challenges that people face trying to reintegrate into society,” said Ramírez-Montagut.
What is on display at the Broad Museum is the work of professional artists who were paired with imprisoned people and imprisoned people working alone.
It has interactive material giving visitors the chance to advocate for change by reaching out to lawmakers or by simply writing down how this issue has impacted them.
The exhibitions officially opened this week and will run into the first week of December.
The museum is free and open to the public.
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