Alcatraz - ryanp-photos

Alcatraz


Alcatraz is probably the creepiest National Park I've ever been to. It feels so odd walking around on the island on a gorgeous sunny day, just off shore from San Francisco bay, with lush greeneries and sidewalk gardens.
Knowing full-well that some of the worst criminals was lived here.

We visited the island to catch the Ai Wei Wei exhibit, a not so subtle statement of activism with his art embedded and scattered around the prison.
 The first part of the prison we saw was the cell area where the detainees had a small 2 x 3 feet room.
 To be honest it reminds me of the prison episodes in Walking Dead.

What's really striking for me though, is actually how beautiful the way light shines in through the tall reinforced windows.

And in some areas you can even look out and see the San Francisco skyline.

It must feel like a spit in the face to be able to see the beautiful city, but yet being so far away and isolated from it.

From the cell, we stopped by the dining room. Where as part of the exhibit, you can write a postcard to activists around the world. I saw a young girl drawing a little thing about love, addressed to somebody somewhere on the other side of the world who most likely is being repressed by his/her own government. It's a sweet gesture, really.

I hope whoever gets her postcard will feel a little bit better about the world.

The creepiest part of the prison is definitely the medical ward. Artifacts that was used to treat some of the inmates were left here, preserved in some eerie stillness.

The main showcase of Ai Wei Wei's work is the huge collages of other activists around the world, made with lego. Seen from the hallway where armed guards will watch over the inmates. And a wing sculpture made of Tibetan solar stove.

A wing, trapped inside a prison, seemingly awaiting to take flight to the free skies.

Not so subtle

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