Archive | July, 2011

Valencia C. in Images and Words, a post by Ashley Lucas

3 Jul

Valencia C., a RWW contributor incarcerated in California, is the only male prisoner featured in our book.  From the moment he read our initial call for contributions to the special issue of the National Women’s Studies Association Journal on “Women, the Criminal Justice System, and Incarceration: Processes of Power, Silence, and Resistance” (Summer 2008), Valencia (also known as Ciri) expressed genuine concern for and solidarity with women in prison.  The book Razor Wire Women eventually grew out of the abundance of high quality contributions we received for that journal issue.  Valencia was the first artist to get in touch with us and is the only artist featured both in that special journal issue and RWW.

After reading RWW for the first time, Valencia sent me an extraordinary letter accompanied by three new drawings.  Here are the images and the words he wrote to accompany them.  This first image is split in two here because my scanner wasn’t big enough to get it all into one image, but the daughter and mother figures here should be side by side (daughter on the left and mother on the right):

Drawing #1 is called “Epiphany.” (charcoal, pastels, and colored pencils on paper)

For this, I wrote:


                freedom, rights, and hope

                                are taken away

                dignity, sanity, and justice

                                carried out

                Young loved ones are left

                                to face danger and become

                                                society’s prey.

                Morals, humanity, and identity

                                are swept up

                and in a single epiphany,

                all is gone. . . forever lost.

Drawing #2 is called “Thrown Away.” (charcoal and pastels on paper)

It goes as follows:

                Legally thrown away

                                by the hand of those

                that are supposed to help

                                into a senseless place.

                A ruthless labyrinth

                                with the exits weld

                were many denied

                                you are illegally held

                your identity captive

                                as a rare bird in a cage.


#3 is titled “Ashley.” (watercolor in paper)

The first two pieces are a recapitulation of all I read in the book.  After I brainstormed, this came out.

The last one is a way of me showing gratefulness/gratitude for your work (and all “free” people who take a serious look at the problem and actually take the initiative to find a helpful solution).  This is for accepting my work and including it in your book, and I am willing to participate in any future projects if you would like me to, and if there is any in sight.

Might the Lord God bless you all.

Respectfully and thankfully,

Valencia C.

Valencia, we will gladly post your artwork and thoughts on this blog any time you would like to share them with us.

If those of you reading this blog would like to invite Valencia to contribute artwork to any of your future endeavors, please send a message to us using the “Contact Us” portion of our website, and we’ll be sure to send your words along to Valencia.  We would do the same for any of our incarcerated contributors, so please use this site to reach out to them and let them know how much their work means to you.  We sustain one another through communication.

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