P.I.C.T.U.R.E.S Prison Industrial Complex: Tyranny Undermining Rights, Education, And Society

  • P.I.C.T.U.R.E.S sheds light on the issues surrounding mass incarceration.
  • Groundswell youth visit the Museum of the City of New York for inspiration.
  • Portions of the final design were sketched out on pieces of graph paper before being transferred onto the wall.
  • The young men share their work with attendees of a public mural tour, interested to learn more about the research behind the mural design.
  • Groundswell youth proudly stand against the injustice of mass incarceration at the mural dedication.
  • A detail from the finished mural.
Groundswell's Brooklyn Mural Project: The Prison Industrial Complex

Project Description

Groundswell’s all-male Making His’tory mural team made up of young men in Groundswell’s Summer Leadership Institute (SLI) – some with a prior involvement with the justice system – collaborated with Lead Artist Esteban del Valle and Assistant Artist Jose de Jesus Rodriguez to raise awareness around the prison industrial complex and to explore what freedom can mean within this context. Entitled “P.I.C.T.U.R.E.S Prison Industrial Complex: Tyranny Undermining Rights, Education, And Society,” the 18’ by 80’ mural was created through three intensive phases: research, design, and fabrication.
During the initial afterschool research phase, the project team interviewed experts in the field of justice reform and participated in brainstorming sessions and hands-on workshops. They also visited the Museum of the City of New York, attending a street art exhibition currently on display and gaining more insight on how New York City has historically spearheaded national social justice movements. The research discussions among the youth artists were marked by debates around the structural issues leading to the social and economic imprisonment of certain ethnic and racial populations in the United States.  At the center of the mural, a man with a cage on his head symbolizes the imprisonment of the mind, embodying the group’s definition of “prison” generated by rigorous team discussions. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. is at the center right adjacent to the man in cage, symbolizing taking action against such problems through proactive social participation. The mural also incorporates imagery of flying books and a ladder, to further suggest the concept of hope through civic participation.
To follow a youth-driven social media campaign highlighting this project, developed in partnership with WNET New York Public Media, use #GroundswellNYC.

Add new comment

This question is for testing whether you are a human visitor and to prevent automated spam submissions.
Enter the characters shown in the image.

Project Info

Fun Facts

Fun Fact
With only 5% of the world’s population, the U.S. has 25% of the world’s prison population.
Question about the Mural
What are the Jim Crow laws? When were they implemented?
Fun Fact
According to the June 2012 National Institute of Justice Journal, African Americans account for less than 14% of the U.S. population but 28% of all arrests.