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Angola Prison Art: Captivity, Creativity, and Consumerism

From: Journal of American Folklore
Volume 119, Number 473, Summer 2006
pp. 257-274 | 10.1353/jaf.2006.0035


Louisiana State Penitentiary in Angola holds a biannual Arts and Crafts Festival featuring handmade work by inmates. In addition to introducing innovations into vernacular prison art forms, Angola inmates find enormous value in creating works that embody or mimic the everyday images and goods so readily available in the outside world. Such work involves layered acts of appropriation, allowing inmates to sustain a social integrity that, to some degree, neutralizes a status tied solely to incarceration.