Paris Stencil by Charles Zafir Lawson

Paris Stencil
Charles Zafir Lawson

I am so impressed with the quality of the work of this artist.  This person probably trained for years, right?  Not so.  In fact, the painter of this portrait is self-taught.  He’s also currently serving a life sentence in a Philadelphia prison.

Artwork like this, also painted by inmates, is displayed in a Free Library of Philadelphia exhibit called Prison Art for Social Justice (through Feb. 15).  This week, I spoke with the event organizer, who co-founded Art for Justice with the portrait’s painter.

Read my Broad Street Review article here:
Paintings done in cells instead of studios come to the Free Library

Art for Justice aims “to promote public dialogue on ways to prevent crime, reduce levels of incarceration, and find effective, humane ways to improve the criminal justice system,” according to their website.  The art is the beginning of a conversation (see the article for more on that).  But conversations take two.  Are you willing?


If you can’t get to the exhibit at the Library, check out the Art for Justice website, which features galleries of Lawson’s pieces as well as other inmate artists.