Peterborough exhibit asks: What would a world without prisons look like?

"Whether people are on immigration hold, serving a sentence inside, or on parole, it's clear the prison system is a failure. It only breaks people down and fractures communities, all the while making lots of money for the companies involved," Hoszko tells CBC Arts.

Sheena Hoszko's new exhibit debuts this weekend

The Central East Correctional Centre exhibit in Peterborough. (Sheena Hosko)

Central East Correctional Centre is the name of a medium/maximum security prison colloquially known as the "Lindsay Super Jail." Located in Lindsay, Ont., the prison is contracted by the Canada Border Service Agency to act as a holding centre for immigration.

Forty-five minutes west of the facility at Peterborough's Artspace gallery, artist Sheena Hoszko will be presenting an exhibit that shares the prison's name — and explores its possible implications. Through minimalist sculpture installation, drawings and text, Hoszko is inviting viewers to ask themselves: What would a world without prisons look like?

"Whether people are on immigration hold, serving a sentence inside, or on parole, it's clear the prison system is a failure. It only breaks people down and fractures communities, all the while making lots of money for the companies involved," Hoszko tells CBC Arts. "Visual language and aesthetics are important to me. I work in a specific minimalist sculptural context where the impact of scale on the body is the focus. I don't believe apolitical art exists, and I think it's an artist's responsibility to situate their work within power structures."

In addition her own work, Hoszko's exhibition — which opens tonight and runs until February 25 — will include testimonials and art from those currently detained at the "Super Jail."

"The guys who have sent testimonials and poetry for the show from inside Lindsay are looking forward to people reading their thoughts and words," Hoszko says. "Many have been on strike protesting their conditions since 2013."

You can read more about their struggles through the End Immigration Detention Network, which is collaborating with Hoszko and Artspace to put on the exhibition There is also a letter writing station within where visitors can write to the detainees.​

Central East Correctional Centre by Sheena Hozko. January 15 to February 25 at Artspace, 378 Aylmer Street North, Peterborough.

Poetry by detainee K.F. (End Immigration Detention Peterborough)


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