DON PENDLETON: Collective S1-025

NIARK1: Collective S1-018

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MARKA27 Awarded the Right of Return 2022 Fellowship

"It’s an honor to be awarded the Right of Return 2022 Fellowship. I am a formerly incarcerated artist. As a youth I spent time incarcerated for graffiti and graffiti related charges. The system was never designed to uplift or rebuild. In fact even after serving time my criminal record continued to make life difficult through constant judgment for a crime committed over 20 years ago. I’m taking this experience to speak with future generations facing the same challenges and let them know mistakes do not define us!! We are worthy and we will rise!"


Artists have always played a critical role in social movements as culture-makers and catalysts for change. The work to end mass incarceration and criminalization is no exception.

While many artists have explored the issue of mass incarceration, formerly incarcerated artists have a particularly important role to play. Drawing on lived experience, Right of Return USA artists work at the forefront of social movements and have the unique power to translate complex and nuanced ideas into powerful experiences, helping audiences move toward action.

In a world saturated with new challenges and rapidly growing divisions, our fellows are also organizers and advocates who connect people and communities to collectively reimagine the world we want to live in.

The goal of the Right of Return fellowship is to support the creation of new bodies of work that uplift the voices of people directly impacted by the criminal justice system, reflect the humanity of criminalized and incarcerated people, and build public will for ambitious and visionary change. Embedding artists within the reform movement results in more nimble, resonant, and creative campaigns to end mass incarceration and advance racial equity.