Featured from Sassamatt
BC Penitentiary — open to visitors
BC PEN — OPEN TO VISITORS is a series of black and white photographs made during the BC Maximum Security Penitentiary open house in 1980 just prior to its decommission. These images are from an archive of black and white film negatives shelved for forty years, and working on them brought back both questions and memories. I wondered what would draw me to visit a place that contained memories of excruciating suffering, knowing that I do not release the emotional residue of these experiences easily. Revisiting the BC Penitentiary through my photography brought back memories of the 1973 Riot followed by hostage-takings in 1975 and 1976. My mind resurrected countless news stories about deplorable conditions, high staff turnover and the unforgettable friendly fire killing of Mary Steinhauser, a social worker who was outspoken about solitary confinement. Curiously, I was compelled to be among those who visited and witnessed this closing chapter in British Columbia correctional facility history and the end of a century of draconian prison conditions.
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Sassamatt Publications at Blurb feature exhibition catalogues, photographic records of artists residences, illustrated memoirs, ceramics history and psychology. Many of these publications are collaborations with our artistic community, and we look forward to collaborating with this diverse group of individuals.
As curators, Edward Peck and Phyllis Schwartz engage local and international artists in conversations to develop exhibitions. They offer participating artists the opportunity to collaborate and develop a body of work for exhibition. This collective approach invites diverse artists to work together: creating opportunities for collaboration and conversations about artist practices, the creative process and community engagement. Out of this process, a thematic approach to each exhibition develops.
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