Women on the Edge of Time

Natalie Giugni

Kids in Cages

Image measures 11” H x 17” W, on watercolor paper
16” H x 24” W.

 Mixed media collage: Print, acrylic and watercolor, the collage elements are discarded documents from the Essex County Jail in Newark, New Jersey, circa 1970.

The images which have emerged from this Child Caging Series have been printed on watercolor paper and hand-painted. Collage elements have been added from discarded documents that I recovered from an abandoned Essex County Jail in Newark. The privacy protections which we take for granted did not apply to the inmates, whose names were on shopping lists and medical records scattered upon the floor of the decaying prison. They were simply heartbreaking to read knowing they pertained to a person’s life and now lay scattered like so much refuse.
The series of characters that have materialized through this process of working from a three-dimensional form, back to a two-dimensional piece, is my way of exploring a multitude of emerging shapes and narratives as I come to terms with my own feelings towards the ugly truths behind the high levels of incarceration in the United States.
Through this series, I express the injustice of centuries-old oppression and reclaim hope for future change. With the embellishment of color and collage I have added leaves and flowers to the once charred tropical flowers, thus healing “scorched earth”. The subjects in my narrative are heroes; the characters which emerge convey strength and command, attributed to powerful warriors, as opposed to captives—rectifying the culmination of the discriminatory practices which still need to resolve themselves outside the walls of my studio.

Natalie Giugni


Video Short by Natalie Giugni

NYSWA: Natalie Giugni