Gary Tyler




My art practice was born of injustice. At the age of 16, I was sentenced to death for a crime I did not commit. Though my case was the subject of international outcry, I spent 42 years in Angola State Penitentiary in Louisiana; I was finally released at the age of 57. While in prison, I learned the arts of theater and quilt-making, and used my talents to enrich my life and to mentor countless fellow-prisoners. Though my art was born of injustice, it generated hope. I served as a volunteer in the prison hospice program for many years, comforting the dying. I taught myself the art of quilting to support the program financially & to comfort patients and their families. The Angola Prison drama program, which I directed for 30 years, was a very robust program. In my work with prisoners, I used drama to promote a culture of community, civic responsibility, and hope. Since my release, I use both quilting & drama in my work with homeless youth.

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