Big projects happen little by little in prison- if you dig a tunnel, you need to bring the dirt into the yard one pocketful at a time. The same idea applies to a gargantuan mural created by former federal prisoner Jesse Krimes. In 2009 Krimes was sentenced to 70 months at a medium security prison in Butner, North Carolina after being caught with 140 grams of cocaine. During his prison stay, Krimes created "Apokaluptein:16389067," a mural made from contraband bedsheets, images from the New York Times, and prison-issue hair gel (Krimes used the hair gel to transpose the Times images onto the sheets, so that they appear reversed).
Krimes told the website Prison Photography that "Apokaluptein:16389067"- which combines the Greek word "apokalupsis," meaning "to reveal," with Krimes's Federal Bureau of Prisons identification number- is a "depiction of represented reality as it exists in its mediated form, within the fabric of the prison." The mural is made from 39 panels arranged in three rows: the top row is ethereal, made from images from the Travel section, and beneath it Krimes arranged transposed images from news coverage of natural disasters and manmade atrocities like Sandy Hook. Krimes shipped the panels home, one at a time, and only saw the assembled work after he was released from jail.
Images by Sarah Kaufman.
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