June 19 @ 8:00 am - 5:00 pm
Sara Bennett, Life After Life in Prison: The Bedroom Project
February 6–March 1, 2020
First Thursday opening reception: February 6, 6:00–9:00 PM
Panel Discussion: Saturday, February 8, 3:00 PM
with artist Sara Bennett and representatives from Mercy Corps NW’s Prison and Re-Entry Services, YMCA of Greater Portland’s Family Preservation Project, and Open Hearts Open Minds’ Theatre at Coffee Creek
Blue Sky Gallery
122 NW 8th Avenue
Portland, Oregon 97209 USA
Tuesday – Sunday, 12 – 5 pm
First Thursday 6 – 9 pm
All Blue Sky events and programs are free and open to the public.
The twenty-one women photographed by Sara Bennett in The Bedroom Project were all convicted of serious crimes— mostly homicide—and spent fourteen to thirty-seven years in a maximum-security prison. By the time they came up for parole they were all profoundly changed, yet most of them were repeatedly denied release because of the crimes they had committed decades earlier.
Bennett writes, “these women were open and trusting enough to allow me into their most private spaces—their bedrooms—and to share the comments that accompany the photos. Like me, they hope this work will shed light on the pointlessness of extremely long sentences and arbitrary parole denials, and thus help their friends still in prison: women (and men) like them who deserve a chance at freedom.”
The Bedroom Project is the second in the Life After Life in Prison series. It has been featured at The FENCE 2018, Photoville 2018, the 10th International Organ Vida Photography Festival, the 2018 Indian Photography Festival, and PDN’s Photo of the Day, among others. This project was also a Top 50 finalist in the 2018 Critical Mass competition.
Sara Bennett has been a public defender specializing in domestic violence and the wrongly convicted. She draws attention to the problems of mass incarceration through her photographs of women who have served decades in prison. Her work has been featured in The New York Times, PBS News Hour/Art Beat, PDN Photo of the Day, and the Marshall Project, and has exhibited in a variety of venues including universities, galleries, the courthouse at 60 Center Street, the Legislative Building in Albany, and the Museum at the Eastern Correctional Facility in Philadelphia.