Some 40 paintings made by persons deprived of liberty (PDL) of the Marikina City Jail-Male Dormitory are on display at the 22nd National Association of Dental Traders Inc. (NADTI) Trade Exhibit in SMX Convention Center Manila in Pasay City, an official of the Bureau of Jail Management and Penology (BJMP) said on Thursday.
The Marikina City Jail-Male Dormitory partnered with non-profit organization Obra Maestra Art and Culture Inc. for the display of the paintings at the exhibit which runs from Tuesday to Thursday. It also features artworks of 27 other newbie artists.
Proceeds of the three-day art exhibit will go to the PDL artists of Marikina City Jail-Male Dormitory, which will help their families and loved ones outside.
In a statement, Marikina City Jail Warden Chief Insp. Joseph Bustinera said the “painting behind bars” initiative started as an art therapy program for inmates.
“Our PDL artists are not really innate artists. It is only here inside the jail that they discovered their talent. They are great,” he added.
Bustinera said Obra Maestra held a two-month portraiture and painting workshop for more than 20 PDLs of the Marikina City Jail to further hone their talents and skills in painting.
“The workshop was conducted for seven weeks with Mr. Celvic Villacorta of Paint It Forward (who is) a former student of UP (University of the Philippines) Baguio. For two months, once a week silang (Obra Maestra) nagcoconduct ng painting sessions sa mga PDL (conducted for the PDL). And then last month, naka-graduate (they graduated) na sila (PDL),” he said, adding the art kits used were provided to all participants for free.
To date, PDL artists of the Marikina City Jail have started accepting commissioned artworks for the personnel and visitors of the jail facility.
“Naging source of livelihood na ng ilan sa aming mga PDL ang pagpipinta. Katunayan, tumatanggap na rin sila ng mga order, gaya ng portrait para sa mga empleyado at mga dalaw (Paintings have become a source of livelihood for several of our PDLs. In fact, they are now also accepting orders, such as portraits for employees and visitors),” Bustinera said.
Meanwhile, BJMP chief Jail Director Allan Iral expressed his support for the program.
He believes that this kind of activity is not only an opportunity to showcase the talents and skills of PDL but also a way to boost their self-esteem amid incarceration.
“As partners for change, we want to offer these artists the opportunity to see their value as individuals and ultimately, to contribute to the programs of the Jail Bureau,” he said. (PNA)