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02 May 2019

Mark Bradford and Rio Terà De Pensieri: Process Collettivo

In 2017, Mark Bradford represented the United States at the 57th Venice Biennale with ‘Tomorrow Is Another Day’, an acclaimed solo exhibition in which the artist examined the historical roots of American racism. Extending his socially committed practice beyond the Biennale walls, Bradford initiated a partnership with Rio Terà dei Pensieri, an Italian nonprofit that supports skill-based training and reintegration for inmates of Venice prisons.

An excerpt from ‘Mark Bradford and Rio Terà De Pensieri: Process Collettivo’, a short documentary directed by Heather Fipps, Assistant Professor/Student Production Unit Director at Cal State LA

Through this collaboration, Process Collettivo was formed—an ongoing, six-year project that aims to increase employment opportunities within prisons and the city of Venice—ultimately raising awareness around the political and environmental conditions that disproportionately affect marginalized populations. ‘When you think of Venice’, Bradford recognizes, ‘you do not think of a women’s prison.’

While preparing for his presentation at the Biennale, Bradford, intrigued and inspired by the stories and projects undertaken by Rio Terà, decided to visit the prison workspaces and meet the inmates who were engaged in forms of ongoing production such as screen printing and gardening, in addition to creating a cosmetics lab.

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Building on Rio Terà’s existing structure of non-profit laboratories and workspaces, Process Collettivo, now in its third year, includes a shop in the historic center of Venice, which sells handmade products created by the inmates such as bags, accessories, T-shirts, and natural cosmetics. In addition to hands-on training, the project also serves as a network where former inmates can find information on services available in the city, including access to training, employment, housing, and health facilities. All proceeds from the shop’s sales support projects providing work to Rio Terà dei Pensieri inmates and new and upcoming initiatives that are promoted through Process Collettivo.

More than anything, Process Collecttivo shares with art the idea that an individual, working with others, can make something happen, as Bradford highlighted ‘our progressive voices are needed—needed to mobilize the margins. The periphery is massing.’

The Process Collettivo shop will be during the 2019 Venice Biennale, Friday – Sunday from 9 am – 7.30 pm. Learn more about Process Collettivo.

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