Khairul Ismail’s choice of subject matter and setting lends a psychological slant to this series. The visual works that he has documented reveal an ongoing process of inner negotiations, of dealing with power struggles, fear towards appropriation, desire for acceptance and repentance, within each prison inmate. Collectively, the visual works suggest the existence of a communal struggle of the inmates against a dogmatic power. This pressure of the panoptical power on the inmates has inevitably turned the visual structure in Pudu Jail into an artifact, which represents the apparatus of power struggle and repression.
In capturing these images, Ismail hopes to provide his audience with fresh insights into understanding the drive and influences behind and beyond the ‘Art’ on the walls of Pudu Jail.
About the Artist
In 2001, Ismail graduated with a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Still-Based Media Studies, Photography from the Columbus College of Art & Design in Ohio. He returned to Malaysia in 2002 to pursue a Masters degree in Visual Art and Communications at the University of Technology, where he did an intensive study and documentation of the prison graffiti in the Pudu Jail of Kuala Lumpur.