THE WOMEN OF REBIBBIA. WALLS OF STORIES – The common imagery of the prison life is fed by the photographic and cinematic depiction that nearly always represents the male population.
In the era of the #MeToo movement and of a resurgence of the female voice I have decided to investigate what incarceration is like for a woman: the maternity, the relationship with family and partners, the harsh condition with other cell-mates of different countries and cultures.
In Rome, the city where I live, the women’s section of Rebibbia prison is the greatest in Europe. The huge architecture developed on the model of the Panopticon of Jeremy Bentham is divided in two main buildings, the Camerotti and the Cellulare, that inevitably mark the time of prisoners’ days.
I have decided to let these spaces speaking for them: the cells, the nursery, the kindergarten, the common spaces for social and educational activities, the laundry, the farm, the visitors’ room are the only places where the inmates spend their lives for years.
Since there is no privacy in a jail and everything is under control I have turned the personal perspectives in a collective story devoted to pain and relief at the same time, hanging in between violence and redemption, pointed by dramas and solidarity as well.
Discovering a world often neglected and very different from my expectations has been an eye-opening experience that has changed my way of reaffirming to myself and of being a free woman. – Francesca Pompei