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New Irish Works: Solitary

Matthew Thompson


32 pages
ISBN 9780957684911


The Angola Three are three prison inmates –Robert Hillary King, Albert Woodfox and Herman Wallace –who were held in solitary confinement in Louisiana State Penitentiary (Angola Prison). The three were accused of the fatal 1972 stabbing of a prison guard, Wallace maintained his innocence and used his time behind bars to draw attention to abusive prison conditions. Robert King spent 29 years in solitary confinement before his conviction was overturned and he was released. Wallace was released on October 1, 2013, after more than 41 years in prison. Woodfox had his conviction overturned by the US Court of Appeals in April 2015 and was released in March 2016. Wallace filled his waking hours with reading and correspondence. With Woodfox and a third inmate in solitary confinement, Robert King, he also organised a chapter of the Black Panthers, the black nationalist group, and began mobilising other African American inmates against brutal conditions inside Angola, including rampant prison rapes.The Angola 3, as they came to be known, maintained that they were kept in solitary as payback for their political activities. (October 08, 2013, Elaine Woo, LA Times) This project catalogues artefacts used and crafted by Herman during his 41 year incarceration, it also documents General Taylor St. where Herman grew up and died three days after his release. Image locations are based on a map Herman had drawn from memory. “Solitary” is a collaboration with artist/activist Maria Hinds, who was a close friend and supporter of Herman Wallace.

About the Artist:
Matthew is an Irish fine-art and commercial photographer who is interested in why we think what we think.

About the Publisher:
Selected by an international panel of 23 professionals, New Irish Works brings you a selection of 20 projects and 20 photographers representing the diverse range of practices coming from Ireland. New Irish Works 2016 is a year long project of 10 presentations and 20 publications that aims to highlight the great moment Irish Photography is experiencing.

Founded in 2009, PhotoIreland was conceived as an organisation that would stimulate a dialogue around Photography in Ireland by developing a varied array of initiatives and events with a strong participative approach.