ApsArt Center for Theatre Research (RS) Project PAROL!: Prison for Beginners – An Illustrated History of Prison Slang

print series, 2014 / 2015

The Illustrated History of Prison Slang was conceived in the impossible. ApsArt could not make project PAROL! in Serbian prisons, because the administrative department in charge of serving sentences would not give its permission. But as life always demonstrates, impossibilities are often a catapult for the liberation of new ideas and creative solutions. Thus, a dramaturge, director and three fine artists created this uncommon work with former convicts.

Dictionaries are means for communication and understanding. Although jails are often found in populated places, in cities and villages, they are a kind of parallel universe in which everything is different, and even time passes differently. A totally new and different reality starts behind bars. And this is why this dictionary was made.

The Illustrated History of Prison Slang is the work of former inmates, people who have lived in the world behind bars and got to know it. They turned their unwillingly acquired knowledge and learned survival techniques into the creative, playful, vital, powerful and painfully sincere work. In the images it is the work of the artists Nikola Korać and Branko Tešević, who visualised this strange world and gave it the note of a raw yet refined urban strip that awakens the fantasy and leaves nobody indifferent.

The worst penalty is that in us, the highest walls those that are between people. Creativity is liberating, and once won, the interior freedom of man can be revoked by no kind of prisons and walls. The Illustrated History of Prison Slang aims at raising awareness of freedom and the path that has been passed by the people who compiled it – a path in search of the truth about the world in which we live and our place in it.

ApsArt Center for Theatre Research (RS)

ApsArt Center for Theatre Research is a Belgrade based theatre company, founded in 2004. It uses theatre and other art forms as tools for personal as well as for social change. ApsArt has been working in prisons, hospitals, shelters, schools, streets, kindergartens – wherever people are. ApsArt believes that everyone has a right to art, to consume and to participate.

Branko Tešević (Resto) was born in Sarajevo, but lives and works in Belgrade. He is a young visual artist, engaged in drawing, graffiti and graphic design. He is a member of UnderGrad crew and founder of the clothing brand Street Hero.

Nikola Korać was born in Belgrade in 1980. He took a degree in the printmaking department of the Applied Arts Faculty in Belgrade, and at the Fine Arts Faculty he took a specialised graphics course. He has had five solo shows and has taken part in a large number of group exhibitions at home and abroad. He is part of the artistic collective Silkskrin and a member of the artists association ULUPUDS.