From 2015-2016, IJB worked with artist jackie sumell as Project Manager for Solitary Gardens, assisting with project concept, design identity, grant writing, and management.
Solitary Gardens designs six-by-nine-foot garden beds—the dimensions of US American solitary confinement prison cells—and cultivates them according to the wishes and specifications of incarcerated persons. For those on the “outside,” the garden beds become classrooms for prison abolition curriculum as well as portraits of those denied the humble right to nature by a system designed exclusively to punish, not repair.
Solitary Gardens’ ecological and social footprint aims to counterbalance that of the prison complex. As the gardens grow, the cells are overcome and ultimately decomposed by plant life, demonstrating that no matter what harm we humans impose on ourselves and the planet, nature, like human hope, love, and the imagination, will always win in the end.