“Talking Walls” is an on-going series of informal exhibit spaces staged throughout Hart House. It seeks to build understanding and awareness by giving voice to challenging and engaging subject matter.
Incarcerated Hip Hop: Freedom of Speech is a collaborative project between community organization FYOU: The Forgiveness Project and Hart House. Displayed along the 1st-floor hallway, this exhibit was conceived, produced and informed by the work of both partners and centres the words and thoughts of incarcerated youth from correctional institutions in Ontario. Our shared goal is to create pathways to conversations that recognize and amplify the hidden voices of incarcerated populations - voices that are often silenced or misrepresented.
Presented as a series of reflections written by predominantly young black men, "Incarcerated Hip Hop: Freedom of Speech" uncovers the fractious relationship between the creators and consumers of Hip Hop culture. In response to precarity and lack of resources, the originators of Hip Hop found their creative voice and gave rise to an art form and a cultural sensibility that is now one of the most influential and economically successful exports of our time. The lived experiences of the participants echo many of the same shared hardships and we see their creativity and artistry shine in their contributions to this project.
This exhibition seeks to examine the complexities and connections of Hip Hop as it relates to the criminal justice system; we investigate a central question: why is it such a short jump from the “commodification” and “celebrity” of hip hop to being in the “custody” of hip hop?
Through this exhibition, we hope viewers will recognize and feel the humanity in the words and thoughts of each participant. We are grateful for their contributions.
Everyone wants to be a rapper. I just want to tell my truth. I don't feel accepted anywhere else.S.S. 24 years old. Sentenced to 3 years.
Talking Walls Exhibition Space
Talking Walls provides a venue for socially conscious, thought-provoking artwork, texts, documentary images, and audio stories. Anyone interested in creating a dialogue, posing questions, or sharing ideas through their work is welcome to submit to Talking Walls. Please contact Saša Rajšić, Coordinator, Integrated Arts Education for more information.