Mi Linda Raza, Paño, Texas Prison System
Mi Linda Raza, Paño, Artist Unknown, Texas Prison System, 1997, ink on handkerchief, 15" high x 15" wide, mint condition.
Used in prison as a means of income and barter as well as for communication and mental escape, the historical, religious, cultural, erotic and sociopolitical images on the paños range from cartoon figures drawn for a child’s birthday to a collage depicting the horrors associated with incarceration.
The most common images are associated 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 paño often serves as a love letter, birthday card, tribute to a cultural hero and/or personal testimonial of life experiences.