Susan Brown’s statement is written in response to her selection as part of the Prison Creative Art Project’s 25th Annual Exhibition of Art by Michigan Prisoners (postponed due to the COVID-19 pandemic).
“This is my 17th year incarcerated. Until I can physically be free I am ever so grateful for the opportunity to express my personal freedom of art with all of you. Each piece that gets selected for the U of M art show gives me hope that someone will be touched by my creations. This is the 25th exhibit for PCAP, and I hope my work represents just how honored I am to be a participant. To my beautiful children; it is an honor to be a part of your lives. I love you so very much!”
– Susan Brown
Over the course of six months’ time, some of which she spent in segregation, Susan Brown created Redeemed. The armature and structure are constructed out of toilet paper and glue, common materials for incarcerated artists to work with. Brown placed each of the work’s 347,929 beads individually. She originally began honing her craft with two-dimensional, small-scale, intricate beadwork, and then began creating more structural pieces like this one. Of its significance, Brown says, “This piece started out as a symbolic reference to how often society discards things by removing life, as it does with deer that are taken and hunted for sport or pleasure, and how often individuals are taken or removed, whether by their own actions or others’, from society by harsh sentencing. Both are discarded, and the numbers of each, each year, are greatly increasing with little or no positive change. I have been blessed to create this piece. It was above and beyond my wildest dreams.”
How might we view each bead as a comment on the importance of acting and creating with intention?
Have you ever thought about things or people who are unnecessarily discarded? How might you bring attention to them, as Brown did?
Notice how Brown brought out the symmetry of the Buck with her colorful designs. What else if nature and in our built environment is symmetrical. How could you enhance its beauty with your own design?