35+ Prisons in Québec
Stained glass, copper plates
Installed Musée d’art de Joliette
Image Credit - Paul Litherland
35+ Prisons in Québec is a sculptural artwork based on site visits to all federal and provincial prisons in Québec, from 2016 to 2017. The project understands prison as a system of power relations that extend far beyond concrete block walls, and, in turn, the work asks “outsiders” to position themselves within this dynamic. 35+ Prisons in Québec also specifically locates prisons in relation to the role played by the Catholic Church in building the province’s first carceral institutions, many of which remain today.
35+ Prisons in Québec is comprised of drawings made on site at all of Quebec’s prisons. At each institution, a 9” x 12” piece of paper was placed on the ground in the parking lot, as close as possible to the front gate, and then rubbed with conté, charcoal, or crayon. All 35+ drawings have been photo-transferred and etched with acid onto copper plates. These plates are arranged on the floor of the museum according to the distance — closest to furthest — between each prison and the museum itself. Stained glass panels featuring an upside-down fleur-de-lis, an upside-down maple leaf, and an upside-down crown hang in the space. As well, a list made of vinyl lettering covers the wall, enumerating all the prison sites in Québec and the distance between each institution and the Musée d’art de Joliette.