Exhibition | The Borderline Books

Borderline Books expo photo Dirk Pauwels 10

In spring 2019, the exhibition of 'The Borderline Books' took place at the S.M.A.K Moves Pavilion. The exhibition gave an insight into the experiences of prison residents in Ghent and young up-and-coming artists from the Secondary Art Institute (SKI).

Borderline Books expo photo Dirk Pauwels 10

Expo The Borderline Books - photo: Dirk Pauwels

The starting point of the project was to connect inmates of Ghent prison and students of SKI while drawing. The medium for this dialogue was 25 empty sketchbooks. Small groups of students, together with some of their teachers, visited the prison every four weeks and invited the detainees to join them in drawing in the books.

About 16 people could participate in each workshop. Half of the books remained in the prison library between workshops so that people who were interested could also continue drawing on cell. The other half of the books went back to the school. The request to the illustrators was to respond to each other's drawings. In this way, the books created a visual exchange between the participants; a colourful dialogue in drawings.

The exhibition ran from 18 May to 14 July 2019. After Light Sensitivity, this exhibition is the second S.M.A.K. moves exhibition in the S.M.A.K. moves pavilion designed by Olivier Goethals.


In collaboration with publisher Hannibal, a selection of the drawings was compiled in the book 'Prison Drawings'. This book is on sale in the bookshop.

The book shows a huge diversity of impressions, impulses, styles and themes. It is also the impressive result of the thirty-two workshops organised, in which a total of almost five hundred people participated in drawing.

'The Borderline Books' is a collaboration between S.M.A.K., the Secondary Art Institute, De Rode Antraciet and Ghent Prison. Winnie Bauwens recorded this special collaboration and made a short documentary that will also be shown during the exhibition.

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