Yesterday I began Chelsea’s MAFA Unit 2 coinciding with the second phase of my psycho-geographic exploration, of Holloway’s decommissioned women’s prison.
A dérive (or wandering) around another urban prison site evoked a real sense of exclusion. Prowling with lens poised for the slightest glimpse within the brutal brick walls of Holloway Prison, I experienced an odd reversal and keen curiosity to cross the impenetrable boundary of the 30 foot perimeter wall.
Throughout MAFA Unit 1, I was occupied with my psycho geographic response to Millbank Prison with the transportation of women convicts in the 1800s. My art problem seems to be how to represent emotions to injustices and inequalities for women.
A visit to Islington Museum and a meeting Roz Currie, Curator, furnished a generous hour of discussion. One of her special interests being women’s rights and local social history. I was given unlimited access to the local history department’s 1000 images of the interior of Holloway Prison plus useful text references to those Suffragette women, unfairly imprisoned in Holloway for their beliefs and protests one hundred years ago.
Today, HMP Holloway is stripped bare and awaits decisions for the future of its 9 acre site. Ministry of Justice (MoJ) own the prison. Selling off Holloway will put money back into the prison service, so says the Government. Islington Council want to use the 9 acres site for affordable homes for their own Borough. The MoJ will sell to the top bidder. Graffiti by locals will resist ’Nice flats for Nice people’
Below, Life in Prison the deprivation of liberty prevails
2016 year of is DECOMMISSION – Above/ are images taken from the Islington Museum’s archives. Below shows zero total inmates ‘ in’ or ‘out’ on 18th August 2016
Annabel Ludovici Gray