This documentary is the first to explore the Chicano folk art of Pano Arte (drawing on handkerchiefs). Originating in prisons, Pano Art is created primarily by Chicano inmates in the Southwestern U.S. Pano Arte: Images from Inside explores the art form using the images of over 60 panos to discuss the interwoven themes of religion, family, culture and life behind bars.
Used in prison as a means of income and barter as well as for communication and mental escape , the historical, religious, cultural, erotic and socio-political images on the panos range from cartoon figures drawn for a child's birthday to a collage depicting the horrors associated with AIDS. The most common images, however are associate with life behind bars and what the artist has left outside the prison walls. Though physically isolated from society, the Chicano prisoners' cultural identity remains strong.
The completed pano often serves as a love letter, birthday card, tribute to a cultural hero and/or personal testimonial of life experiences. While the vast majority of the artists are men, one of the most memorable interviews in Pano Arte: Images from Inside, is with a young woman who draws for her son.
Other perspectives on the history, impact and symbolism of this art form come from interviews with former prisoners, the artists' family members for whom the art is often created, a prison official, and academic scholars.
If you are a student or a professor:Watch now
If you are a librarian or a professor: