Author Archives: Eric Okdeh
My sons, now grown have been adversely affected by displaced memories chronicled by prison photos with their dad. How sad a lasting memory. Unfortunately, my youngest son followed suit of his step-father. I dont believe in a generational curse. No positive role models to set an example in his/their life. Post tense, my paramour od 26 years is deceased now. But the impact still lingers for me and my sons. Nothing makes up for the absence.
We wrapped up installation on the 23rd of May. Just over a month and a half’s time. Its hard to believe its all over, but the project site lives on at http://www.familyinterruptedproject.com. There will be a couple major updates and additions to the site right off the bat, along with any major project news, and the announcement of the dedication set for early fall. We have a number of mailboxes still in place, and we are relying on the good graces of the host sites to keep them for as long as they are willing. The largest QR code on the mural leads you to the “Share your Story” part of the site. Im excited to see the contributions it yields. A colossal amount of thanks to my assistants Briana Dawkins, Salaam Smith, Diana Gonzalez, Katie Lillard, Tjai, Abdullah, Koran Morris, Anthony Peel, Latasha Billington, and the men of my mural class at SCI Graterford. Additionally, a huge thank you to all of the volunteers, and families, that reached out, sharing their stories, pictures, writing, and time. Many people opened their homes to me, brought their children to our peer groups, and welcomed additional interviews and meetings. Im forever humbled by their strength and willingness to be heard. Wall Credits Click the Thumbs for a better view. All photos by Michael Reali (originally posted on 6/1/12 @ blog.ericokdeh.com)
Shot over 2 months, my assistants and I assemble the stained glass windows for my “Family Interrupted” project. For more info visit familyinterruptedproject.com ,ericokdeh.com,muralarts.org (originally posted on 5/1/12 @ blog.ericokdeh.com)
Its been a busy spring. Ive been hard at work installing and finishing Family Interrupted, while working on a large private commission, and co-designing my summer project for Mural Arts titled “How We Fish” alongside Social Impact Studios . Its been difficult to keep up with my regular updates, so here is a slideshow of images ranging from the wrap-up in the studio, to the installation of the cloth panels. click to enlarge
My sister is incarcerated. Now I have a niece to care for and I have to also handle another household, along with fees and attending court.
My husband is incarcerated, it has impacted me tremendously. I am a mother of six kids; I am overwhelmed. Now when I need a break I cant take one. I visit him every week.
Family is everything to me. Its what gives sustenance and beauty to life. It is the essence of our culture. I am african and that is a statement without explanation. My people have always been people of an extended family. That reality should be perpetuated by us all. Family is beautiful, it is who I be, the reflection of my African diaspora. I write my family. Even if they dont write me back, because regardless, I love them! I call them. Regardless of how much it costs me, because their voices are unparalleled to anything I have heard or felt. I love them. Regardless of whether they love me back, because my tears for them are genuine. I long for them. All of the time. And that reality is what I remember (to do, think, and react to) before I commit the next crime. My greatest suggestion is that people recognize that love will find a way. And the only way for Love to find a way is to leave a door open. Never close the door. Whether you are in home, or in prison, you must always stay focused. In my heart I truly believe that. Stay focused and the future is up to us.
I’m scared for my son and any future children I may have. I’m also concerned about the young men and fathers to be, for their children. My nephew who is 22 is currently incarcerated for 10 years for assault and attempted murder. Knowing that he is alone in there, I feel bad, and scared for him. I would visit him if I could. (only immediate family is allowed) I want him to know that he isn’t forgotten and that he is still loved.
In response to these facts: Did you know? One in every 28 adults were in prison, jail, or in probation or parole in PA in 2009 (Pew Report, 2009) There are more than 1.7 million children in the United Stated with an incarcerated parent including one in 15 African American children, one in 42 Hispanic children and one in 111 caucasian children. (The Sentencing Project 2009) Over half of incarcerated fathers reported that they were the primary source of financial support for their children prior to their incarceration. (Glaze and Maruschak Incarceration and the Family: A review of Research and Promising Approaches for Serving Fathers and Families, 2008) These facts are horrible. The U.S. is leading the world in mass incarcerations and spending virtually northing on diplomacy and peace building.
My boyfriend is in prison. I was incarcerated once, I feel scared for him because of all the things that happen in there. I cannot visit him because I am on probation.
Incarceration affects more than families, it affects society and the innocent. I feel for anybody who has been a victim. Hopefully rehab can cure a person’s sins.
I have 2 sons and a brother in prison currently. My Grandfather and other brother died in prison. Plus another two brothers who spent the majority of their lives in prison. It impacts me tremendously.
In response to the following facts: Did you know? One in every 28 adults were in prison, jail, or in probation or parole in PA in 2009 (Pew Report, 2009) There are more than 1.7 million children in the United Stated with an incarcerated parent including one in 15 African American children, one in 42 Hispanic children and one in 111 caucasian children. (The Sentencing Project 2009) Over half of incarcerated fathers reported that they were the primary source of financial support for their children prior to their incarceration. (Glaze and Maruschak Incarceration and the Family: A review of Research and Promising Approaches for Serving Fathers and Families, 2008) These facts make me feel that my brother, as an inmate, does not have total control of his life incarcerated.
Having an incarcerated family member makes me appreciate my freedom and value family, because you never know when you can lose them to jail or death.
Here are some progress shots of the glass work that is going on in my studio, as well as a few shots of the mural in progress both in the studio and at workshops. (originally posted on 3/20/12 @ blog.ericokdeh.com)
We are only warehousing prisoners. There is no real effort on rehabilitation. One in every 100 in America in jail. We need to focus on prevention of problems instead of paying $60,000 a year to incarcerate. My sister is in prison, everyday my mom cries. She will die before her daughter gets out. Very sad for all of us. I have not visited her yet, there is still anger, shame, stigma, and disappointment. Very sad for all of us.
No, I do not visit my uncle, because I like to stay focused on matters that are important, and HE made that decision to be there.
These facts leave me with a lot of negative feelings. Makes me look upon my own childhood and the many instances that could have led to my demise. My mother is incarcerated, I do not talk to her. Adopted at 9, still scarred, but never held down by the weight or pain. I do not visit, I do not wish to reopen those wounds as life is finally good to me.
It takes time… To write to them, To listen to them when they call, To take half of the day to visit, Its costly and affects our budget gas to visit and money for food.
One area that should be decriminalized is drug use. People in general should realize that there but for the grace of God goes I. Those who are hurting, hurt people and themselves. We are all sinners in a fallen world. The one and only hope in or Lord God. My brother is incarcerated and I always have underlying sadness. I dont visit as often as I should because it gets me depressed. Then I feel guilty because of Matthew 25 in the bible.