Presented until June 2 at the Bastia courthouse, the exhibition “Regards sur des regards” was produced by nine inmates of the Borgo prison. Their photos are put up for sale for the benefit of the Corsavem association. One of them explains the symbolic significance of this project
The exhibition “Regards sur des regards” is the result of the work of nine men imprisoned in the Borgo penitentiary center for acts of violence and of the photographer Guillaume Gellert and his association 68bis. Thirty-two photos relating to the image of women, taken in detention by this collective of prisoners, are presented until June 2 in the room of the lost steps of the courthouse of Bastia.
These images are on sale* to the general public for the benefit of the Corsican Association for the Assistance of Victims of Criminal Offenses and Criminal Mediation (Corsavem). The collective has sold its rights, the funds raised will finance the acquisition of a legal assistance dog, project of jurisdiction 2023 of the judicial court of Bastia. The main mission of this dog is to accompany and morally support the victims of criminal offenses throughout the procedure.
Quite a symbol. By allowing perpetrators of violence to act in the service of victims, the circle is complete thanks to this socio-cultural project carried out by the judicial court of Bastia, the prison of Borgo and Guillaume Gellert.
“All the photo montages were done the old fashioned way”
Jean, that’s what we’ll call him (the first name has been changed), a young man in his twenties, is one of the nine prisoners who took part in this original artistic project, a photo workshop which gave resulted in the production of a total of fifty images and this exhibition. He was present at the opening at the courthouse. Sentenced to a total of six years in prison, including four for a robbery, he was released from prison last January and is serving the rest of his sentence under an electronic bracelet.
Author of several of the images on display, he took part in this photo workshop while he was still incarcerated. “Basically, it was a way to do something because the days are long in prison”explains this young man who, in detention, also participated in a philosophy café and in activities for the Telethon.
“I got completely caught up in the game. It matched very well with Guillaume, who knows how to pass on his passion for photography. He is the cornerstone of this project that he led with the sentence enforcement judge and our head of detention, he declares. Until then, I was taking photos with a smartphone, nothing more. Guillaume taught us the basics of film, to develop. It was passionate. I hooked up right away. All photo montages were done the old fashioned way, by hand, without a computer.”
“It’s good that we can help at our small level”
The exhibition is based on the view that these prisoners, these men, have of women and their place in society.
They worked on the portrait technique through the superposition of images and the creation of special effects. Each exhibited photo has a title.
Jean’s works are calledt The Mute Pythia, D’or et d’azur, The most beautiful lines are not straight, Really beautiful, Elements of femininity, Indian treasure…
He diversified the sources of inspiration, created montages from images that Guillaume Gellert had brought to the photo studio. Jean himself took the shots, some of which asked a prison guard to act as a model. “Guillaume gave me carte blanche, he specifies. I built these images from ideas that went through my head.”
He says to himself “very satisfied” to have gone “at the end of things” and in front “finished work”, this exhibition which gave him a taste for this discipline which he continues to practice, since his release from prison, as an enlightened amateur.
Jean also highlights the symbolic significance of this cultural project which is doing useful work.
If he says he has “already done (son) path of reflection long before this workshop”, the young man emphasizes that this artistic approach makes sense: “Violence against women is a social issue that must be taken head on and it is very good to devote an exhibition to it. The goal is to allow the acquisition of a dog assistance to victims. We know that these dogs are essential but that it represents a significant cost. It is good that we can help at our small level.”
*The photos exhibited at the Bastia courthouse are sold at the unit price of 100 euros, print and transport costs included. All you have to do is drop off an order form and a check payable to the 68bis association in the ballot box located in the Salle des Pas Perdus. It is also possible to buy five photos in 13×18 format for 30 euros. All the photos can be seen on the website: An order form can be requested by sending an email to the address: [email protected].
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