2011. április 25., hétfő

(Vampire as a criminal) 18. kép szörny

This picture was taken in the most strict Hungarian prison where the long sentenced prisoners are kept. This a painting, oil on canvas, and you can see also the frame of it. The painting course in this prison aims also therapeutical aspects. Prisoners here having long sentences can buy the painting materials from outside, and they have a separated room in which they can paint or draw. Yearly 2-3 exhibitions is organized in Hungary to show this pictures to the non-prison world. This photo was made one of students during his summer exercise in the Szeged prison.
You can see a vampire on this picture or a man with sharp teeth. The nose and the ear is also vampire-like, and the hair a well. This is picture is roughly similar to the Bela Lugosi type vampire stereotypes. The character played by Lugosi had the same hairstyle in the upper middle of the forehead. You can notice also the eyebrows and the eyes and the wrinkles on the face: they are detailed worked out. The facial expression can be anger, hate but also fear. The general feelings of a person who is incarcerated for a longer period of time.
Vampires are not rare topics on the prison drawings. They symbolize the prisoner's self image as well in a broader aspect. All aliens and monsters mean the outcast, the parasites on the body of the society. Or this is the message from the outside world towards the inmates: you are monsters, you suck our blood, you committed very severe crime, therefore you deserve to be locked in the clink. The imprisonment is a longer period of sleep, an enlarged possibility to prepare the revenge for the "big" coming back. Prisoners rest in their coffin, and the wait for the release, they can arise and go back to the light. There are several literature parallels to this scenario: The Count of Monte Cristo or the Papillon. In this meaning this painting can be interpreted as a trial to break out from the prison.          

(A prison tiger) 17. kép szörny

This is a painting from the Szeged prison which is one of the most strict Hungarian correctional facilities. Prisoners with long sentence serve their time here. The quality of this painting is remarkable. You can see also the smoothness of the brush use. You can notice also the bright colors used by the artist. Mainly light green and yellow in the contrast of the dark of the prison. As most prisoners do everywhere in the world: this picture is probably an altered copy of a photo or another drawing. Some painting contents are like memes in the prisons. The tiger is such a symbol.
The tigers are wild animals and they are rulers of the jungle what the story and the myth on them say. They are invincible, they have sharp teeth and they are lurking behind the bushes. Then they get their victims. They are prepared and they are focused on their aim properly. This is a wish of the prisoners which they could not realize during their life. I saw plenty of tiger pictures in the prison, i.e. a copy of a tiger by Salvador Dalí with the long legged elephant in the background and a nude in the front in an Austrian prison. Or a wall painting in a Hungarian prison which was made by gifted prisoners for prison kings for money.
But there is something strange on this picture. This tiger (or a female leon?) is not angry. Or only its mouth shows aggression. The eye is shiny also a bit sad. The light colors are also ambiguous to the violent symbolization, especially the pink tongue. My impression is that this picture implies also some sexual deprivation. This is interesting however. You can notice this controversy in the prison pictures quite frequently. Masculinity against female attributes like on the hindu paintings on deities. I think this is a conflict between to main motivations: to show the power and the stability and the need for understanding and intimacy. The latter you can not show in a prison setting but this urge finds the way to break out from the prisoners in symbols like this painting.      

(The little pig wizard) 16. kép szörny

This is a honest prison drawing made by a juvenile prisoner in Tököl prison in Hungary. Why honest? He don't try to hide himself behind hardly interpretable symbols. Here you can see plenty of easily recognizable symbols. The young prisoners are not trained to hide their feelings at the beginning of their sentence. To mention the intimate feelings in a prison is dangerous because the other inmates are able to misuse these information arbitrary.
Here you can see a small pig who fights a dragon. Lets analyze the pig for the first:
- The shape of the piggy is comics-like, maybe it is taken from a newspaper
- The facial expression of the pig is anger and anxiety
- The tail of the pig is a stereotypical sign of the young pigs.
- He holds a wand in his "hand" with a star on the end: this is a wand which are used by angels in fairy tales
- The hat is also funny
From this we can conclude that the artist tries to emphasize his inner childhood for the other prisoners. But this is a dangerous movement indeed. Therefore the artist tries to hide his immature psyche with the size of the pig in comparison to the dragon:
- This dragon is lame and exhausted, his eye is tired or filled with fear because of the drawing the dilated veins.
- The muzzle is horse-like with sharp teeth. It means that the enemy of the little pig was powerful, merciless  and giant.
- The hanging tongue symbolizes that the lame dragon is defeated.
- The limbs and wings are worked out improperly, this means that the dragon is not perfect. This can be the interpretation of the of the general conditions of becoming a criminal: domestic violence, child abuse, divorced parents, gang activity, bullying etc. The artist can clearly perceive that the opposite side, the other inmates,  suffered also psycho traumas in their past, and therefore they have to compensate their lameness.

The little pig can defeat a big dragon: this a parallel to the fight of David and Goliath. David is a prisoner at the start of his prison carrier and Goliath is the prison system itself: prison gangs, guards, bars, handcuffs, truncheons, drugs etc. But don't forget that this picture was made by a juvenile, it can refer also to the story of the three little pigs. This prisoner has to find alliances in the prison to beat the enemy and he has the ability to do that in himself certainly.

For the reader I have to mention that sometimes I give also lectures on meaning of prison drawings. The most frequent critique I receive during these lectures that the prisoners can not know the stories like David and Goliath, because they are not well educated. This can be true. But I did not meet these prisoners and my aim to analyze these pictures in not to show their psychological diagnosis. I would rather to show the inner reality of the prisons. In this case for instance I try to tell a story on the start of a prison carrier by the general symbols of a drawing. I presume that the human culture is fully independent from the education, from the majority of the society and from the wishes of the so called elite. Therefore I say: you can notice the meaning of the core cultural issues in the prison drawings like parallels, also a submerged culture which is not visible outside the prisons' perimeter walls. It is quite interesting however that these core cultural issues in prisons have the same values as myths of ancient humankind.

And a short story to illustrate the three little pig tale in prison setting. There was a juvenile inmate in the Tököl prison whose name was "Alex" and he was a head of a youngster gang. He had two good friends to spend the time together to try to destroy the prison system. Once he committed a superficial self harm to threat the prison guards. He stated that he commits suicide if he would not get more better regime conditions. His friends did the same. Alex wanted to speak to the prison director, and they negotiated in a confidential setting. The prison director succeed to prevent the mass self harm. Alex widespread a story for the other inmates also for the staff that the prison director begged and even cried to him not cause a full scale riot in the prison, because he would be fired instantly. This Alex is at the top of his prison carrier, he shows an effective example for the painter of this picture.                              

(Gollum: the slow metamorphosis in prison) 15. kép szörny

Gollum the symbol of detriment effect of the prison setting. This painting which was in the office of a social worker in a Hungarian prison, was made by a Romani (Gypsy) prisoner. Romani prisoners are over-represented in Hungarian prisons. The Romani is the largest ethnic minority in Hungary.
The most controversial character in the Lord of the Rings is undisputedly Gollum. In the story he suddenly finds a ring, and the possession of this ring changes his mind and turns him to a monster. But his older self survives the transformation and the conflict between the two personalities results a special level of consciousness: he becomes dissociative. The ring influenced self is sly and the good one is exhausted. This symbolizes the bipolar question of the inmates: Am I a beast, a target of the society or am I just a fallen angel?
The other quite important aspect of the character of Gollum is his deprivation from his all property, the almighty ring. Prisoners are not only deprived from their liberty in the blocks, but also from their basic needs like sexuality, movement, intimacy etc. The latter deprivations are immanent, it means that these are not described in the legislation word by word, but they are implications of the law. Of course there are compensations in the prison: homosexuality, sex with staff members for sexual deprivation, weight lifting for moving and gangs and drugs for intimacy.
The addiction is also important in the interpretation of the symbol of Gollum. He was severely withdrawn from the ring, and this was the cause of the exhaustion of his Sméagol self. He is a resemblance of a heroin addict.
The most important issue of the Gollum/prison harm similarity is the slow malicious effect of the setting and mental state. Gollum changes in the story almost unnoticeable but later he was hardly recognizable. This is the worst side of the prison: the slow destruction of the mind and body, this is the detriment effect of the prison.
Finally I do not say that the creator of this painting was aware of the above mentioned conclusions, may be he just saw the movie in the television, but I am sure, that he realized the similarity between Gollum and himself.                    

(A lamb with human hands) 14. kép szörny

This picture was made in Balassagyarmat Prison which is a strict regime facility whit a unique shape: the prison was built in the middle of 19. century and has a circle shape. It means that even the corridors in this prison are round-shaped.
This drawing was made for a contest. You can observe a lot of prison symbols on this picture which are seemingly not related directly to the deprivation of liberty.
In the center there is chimera which is a combination of a lamb and four human arms. Two arms are standing in the pink background and the other two arms holding a butterfly and a flower with two butterflies on it. As you can read in this blog for several times I try to find the meaning of these symbols as cultural memes. I did not find any hint on lambs with human hands on the internet, just a musical experience, therefore this chimera is incomparable to to any forms in the mythology.
The hands symbolize the power of the action. In the hindu iconography the goddess Kali wears a skirt formed from human arms. This means the release from the Karma. The release is the most important source of every deed, thought, lesson, teaching, wisdom and suffering in prison setting. Some prisoners feel they were misused by their surroundings and their criminal behavior is the consequence of their fate which was determined by their past, their parents' past, or the society overall. The basic ground of self knowledge in the prison is to face the crime but on the other hand also to face the circumstances which led the inmates to their recent situation. Both experiences are challenging because the inmates can confront and envisage their basic innocence which is symbolized by the lamb. "Behold the Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world." In this symbolization the inmates often see themselves as subjects to punishments for the sins of others. After some years in the prison the inmates realize that the control of their fate was not in their hands.
One of the best examples for this realization is the pre-trial detention period for a first offender. The inmate in the outside committed a crime, he was captured by the police, interrogated by officers, defended by lawyers, blamed by prosecutors and finally they are waiting for decision of a judge. But the criminal behavior is not the beginning of his lifespan. He realizes that his family was poor, addicted to drugs or to abusive relationships, therefore he could not enjoy the basic parental care during his childhood. In the larger society, in the school, he became a drop-out because of the bullying, the fights and the small robberies. Street-life demands a strong alliance in which the members are uniformed and they share all the items which they have. They commit a crime together but the others have more money to hire a professional lawyer, they can avoid the prison. These thoughts are coming slowly in the prison, mostly during the sleepless nights. The inmate purifies his mind - if he can survive the prison without drugs - and faces his fate. This is the moment as the need for understanding is born. But also the moment in which the feel of segregation creates.
The lamb above holds a flower which is a symbol of peace and feeds butterflies which are the symbols of change, freedom and the psychology (self-knowledge) itself.

I spoke to a prisoner in the Bochum Prison in Germany who spent more than 30 years in a correctional institute. He said that during the sentence there are stages of facing the challenges:
1. Facing the fate: this is the period of the pretrial detention or a bit longer.
2. Facing the prison system: this the period of habituation to the prison as it is.
3. No way out: this is giving up the hope completely.
4. Expansion of self: this is the breakthrough which comes quietly but also overwhelmingly. Their body stays in the cell but their minds are far away. My interviewee told me that his mind mind was bigger than the Sun and he was sitting between the orbit of Jupiter and Mars. (He was mentally competent completely.)

The painter of this picture is in the first stage.                     

(Lord Ganesh: the remover of obstacles) 13. kép szörny

I found this picture in the Tököl juvenile prison in which mainly juvenile prisoners are accommodated. It was in a staircase. Lord Ganesh is the remover of obstacles in the Hindu mythology. 
What are the obstacles in prison:
- walls, bars, doors, wires which limit the movement of the inmates
- handcuffs, tear-gas sprays, guns which force the inmates to stay where the are also in the case of resistance
- prison staff, they try to keep the inmates in their places with the aim of communication and administration
- other inmates, they make the intimacy and privacy impossible, they hurt each other
Outside of the prison:
- family members: they can influence the inmate's behavior without their presence
- lawyers, prosecutors, judges: they make decisions on the prisoner's life
So it is useful to worship Ganesha in the prison setting.
Hungary is mostly a christian country, hindu people are not inhabited. However the biggest ethnic minority, the Romani roots in India. To express the core of the identity in the prison is always a protest against the power.

12. kép szörny

11. kép szörny

(Alien twins on a prison drawing) 10. kép szörny

I found this picture in the Szeged prison. Two aliens are fighting or just jumping next to each other. Note the other duplications on the picture as well: the two scorpions at the bottom an the two moons on the top. The alien monsters are the symbols of the invincibility, flexibility but also the moral justice. In the original movie Alien, the specie killed all the astronauts with moral failures, only Ripley survived. If we face such kind of urge in an inmate redoubled we can guess that he is a murderer. Which might be possible, because this picture was made in the Szeged prison where the long sentenced prisoners are held in Hungary.     

9. kép szörny

(Anya két gyermekével) 8. kép szörny

7. kép szörny

Traumatizáció a szörnyűségekről szóló börtönrajzokon

A fogvatartottak a börtönben számos tényező miatt élhetnek át pszichotraumát, azaz olyan élményt, ami az egész későbbi életüket alapvetően fogja befolyásolni. Ez a traumatizáció gyakran retraumatizáció, azaz a traumával való újbóli szembesülés. Ennek is számos oka lehet:

2011. április 11., hétfő

3. kép szörny

Itt nem vagy nem csak a "szörny" jelenik meg, hanem az is, hogy valami nagyon "szörnyű" dolog történt. Majd a jövőben több kifejezett szörnyábrázolást fogok feltölteni, azonban fontosnak tartom, hogy a szörny nem feltétlenül a bestiát jelenti csupán, hanem a traumát vagy a PTSD-t is. 
A szörny témájú rajzokban végtére is a szembesülési képtelenség dolgozódik fel. Persze ez csak hipotézis, és csak a börtönre vonatkozik.

2. kép szörny

1. kép szörny

V. S. Ramachandran és William Hirstein agykutatók szerint a művészeti élmény nyolc törvénye a következő:

Szörnyek a börtönrajzokon

A projekt nem áll le. 115 képet raktam fel szexuális deprivációval kapcsolatban, és érkezett is néhány komment, de természetesen várok még.
Új témát nyitok, és ezek a szörnyek lesznek. Most éppen arra gondoltam, hogy az első - rendkívül döbbenetes - rajz alá írok egy kisebb elemzést is, és majd szépen lassan teszem közzé a többi rajzot.