Ray, 42

Ray, 42

Meet Ray…

“I’m grateful for this God given gift of being able to draw and create what’s on my mind, more so what’s in my heart”

Ray, 42

Incarcerated: 23 years

Housed: California State Prison, Vacaville

Art is Life. Art is wonderful, soothing, the great escape, but I must mention the golden aspect: art is open for interpretation and all interpretation is valued! As an artist I get asked a well known question, “How long have you been drawing?” My response, since I was five. But as I reflect back on some of the artwork that captivated my attention, it came from prison. My cousin’s boyfriend sent her a hand-made Mickey Mouse card. Mickey had a tank top on, Jacky’s and some Nike Cortez’s on his feet, looking and standing banged out… and that card was drawn in ink pen. Another piece of artwork came from my uncle, he sent my aunt a hand-made card with a car drawn on a piece of filing folder, and the car was a “Monte Carlos” with a tent on the windows and Dayton wire wheels also drawn in ink pen. These pieces of artwork motivated me to keep drawing over and over until I reached some resemblances. Throughout my childhood I’ve had my fair share of getting in trouble and the majority of the time being on punishment, I spent drawing. Now as аn adult being on punishment (incarcerated), my time is devoted to working in the Delancey Street Restaurant, in groups, painting, drawing creatures and practicing with other mediums. But overall I’m grateful for this God given gift of being able to draw and create what’s on my mind, more so what’s in my heart.

Ahesha, 40

Meet Ahesha…

 I had to learn to love myself to become the mother I am today. It is a real cold feeling sitting in this 4’ x 5’ room with all my thoughts.

Ahesha, 40
Incarcerated: 6 months
Housed: Gloria McDonald Women’s Facility, Cranston, Rhode Island

I’m not defined by my crime. I’m a beautiful mother of 10. I have learned I can prosper in the worst conditions. I had to learn to love myself to become the mother I am today. It is a real cold feeling sitting in this 4’ x 5’ room with all my thoughts. Time has helped me process my bad feelings and the pain I’ve been putting my mother and kids through. Now I have graduated from all the bad things I have done. I’m trying to work on my bachelors degree. I know when I am released in 18 months that I’ve put my loved ones through a lot of pain. When I was standing in front of the judge and he gave me 18 months and said,  I am sorry it had to go this way but it’s for the best, it made me feel alone, like nobody cared, it made my little heart hurt. I was afraid of what I might go through when I started my sentence. I really didn’t know how I was going to feel without my mother, who is really sick with only one leg. And without my children, who are being taken care of by friends and family. My kids are 25, 24, 20, 18, 14, 13, 11, 9, 7 and 5 and I know they wonder why I’m not there to take care of them, like only I know how. When I look at my childrens pictures, they are my motivation to stay strong, to stay happy and to stay stress free without crying. I won’t say to my mother how I should have done this and done that. I’m reminded daily of the bad things I did to get this sentence. Yet, I am motivated by all the good things I’m going to do with my bachelors degree and be there for my kids. I want my kids to be so happy and proud of me. I really want them to know that I have achieved my goals and they can achieve theirs. I’ll be a free woman ready to do the right thing. I will never forget there is hope, faith and purpose! I have the power to change and I am determined to keep bad people away from me. I have learned a lot of new things because knowledge is my liberation. 

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