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FOR THE FIRST TIME, EXHIBITION SHOWCASES LETTERS BY WOMEN PRISON INMATES IN METRO STATIONS
- Nearly twenty letters by inmates from the Women’s Penitentiary of Santiago were written as part of the “Cartas de Mujer” contest.
- This free exhibition will be open from August 25 through to late September in Quinta Normal Station. It will later be transferred to other municipalities.
A collection of letters by 18 inmates from the Women’s Penitentiary of Santiago will be exhibited from August 25 as part of the “Women’s Letters” project, organized by the Chile Committee of the National Museum of Women in the Arts in collaboration with the Department of Corrections [Gendarmería de Chile] and Santiago Metro.
The exhibition, which will open in Quinta Normal Station, is a chance for passengers to discover the innermost feelings of the contest finalists, whose texts were selected among 147 submissions. Drina Rendic, President of the Chile Committee of the NMWA, stated that this initiative is aimed at “promoting the participants’ creativity, discovering and visibilizing potential literary talents, and contributing to inmates’ rehabilitation and reintroduction into society. We also wish to strengthen their dignity and self-esteem”.
The jury was composed of renowned writers, journalists, and opinion leaders such as Mónica González (director of Ciper), Carla Guelfenbein (recipient of the 2015 Alfaguara Award), Arturo Navarro (director of the Estación Mapocho Cultural Center), Adriana Valdés (member of the Chilean Academy of the Spanish Language), and María José Viera-Gallo (writer), among other personalities of the literary and artistic world.
Aware of the importance of highlighting the literary work of imprisoned women and encouraging the simple but inspiring act of writing, the President of Metro, Rodrigo Azócar, stressed that “this exhibition allows us all, as a community, to open up spaces for reflection and conversation based on the stories and experiences of a group of women who have found in literature a path leading to rehabilitation and reintroduction into society”.
The contestants who win the first three places will have a special section within the exhibition, which will be open until the end of September 2016. The first, second, and third-placed participants received cash prizes, while the authors of other five letters received an honorable mention and 10 letters were awarded a participation diploma.
For Jaime Rojas Flores, National Director of the Department of Corrections, this initiative addresses “the obligation to promote and generate spaces for artistic, cultural, and work-related expression. This activity exemplifies this line of work and we can be proud of having allowed a group of women to express their feelings regarding their incarceration experience”.
The “Women’s Letters” exhibition will open on August 25 in Quinta Normal Station and will subsequently be transferred to other stations of the subway network. Entry is free of charge and a mailbox will be available for visitors to write a reply to letters that move them.