Sunday, October 08, 2006

Jailhouse Revival

A friend of mine is participating in an art/poetry exhibit about a jailhouse in Newark, NJ. According to the website:
"The Essex County Jail is a forgotten, historic gem tucked behind massive stone walls in Newark's University Heights District. Although it has landmark status, the jail, which dates back to 1837, has been neglected to the point of ruin. This exhibition brings together 33 of the metro-area’s hottest artists with the hopes of breathing new life into this historic landmark. Featuring photography, poetry, painting, video installation, collage, furniture design and sculpture inspired by and often created from remnants of the Essex County Jail."

She will exhibit a poem as well as a painting (image coming soon.)

Here's her artistic statement:
“The Newark Jail is one of many places in the US that is an archive of American history, yet it is being overlooked. As an artist and teacher, I feel that it is extremely important to save aspects of our American history for future generations. Not only is the Newark Jail valuable for its history, but it also represents a forgotten culture in cities that has interested me for the past few years. Two summers ago I spent time documenting the destruction of a shanty town along the Passaic River. This abandoned space had been the home of over 17 people for more than two years. Like the river, the Newark Jail has become a haven for the forgotten. I think it is important for people to be educated on all aspects of their city and begin to recognize the crises we have in our own backyards. The forgotten should be remembered as well as our past. The Jailhouse Revival exhibition is, in my mind, one right step in beginning to remember and see all for what it is.”

Here's the poem that will be part of the exhibit. Enjoy!


Valued numbers cause
Fall-en History lost to
Jailed beliefs, respected,

Define unwilling,
All, few overcome the system,
Forgotten living.

A false test decides
Zulu African custom
No virgin, no desire but

Revered through clouded
Eyes of structure joining men
Lost togetherness.

To gain completeness
Varied eyes open cautiously
Remembering more.

© Jaime Alvarez 2006

Bio: She is a poet, painter, and sculptor who has lived in Newark, New Jersey for the past seven years. She is known in Europe and the United states for her poetry and paintings. She decided to make Newark her home in search for a connection to her past. Both of her grandparents immigrated to Newark and attended East Side High school, where she currently teaches English. She has read at events in both New York and New Jersey. She has read at The Barren Arts Center and in New Brunswick with Joe Weil, a leading Dodge poet.

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