Strange Fruit (Paintoem)
prison Artist

Strange Fruit is a powerful Paintoem (painting + poem), that confronts the disturbingly high suicide rate at the California Institution for Women (C.I.W.).


is the place to be
Fun living
is the life for me
Spacious places
far and wide
Except at C.I.W.
home to women suicides

About the Paintoem
Poem by: C-Note

Painting by: C-Note

Created in 2017, C-Note uses a collage technique, layering a disturbing image of a woman with a noose around her neck against a background he drew himself. C-Note explains, “We create monsters of ugliness, but we’re scared to look at our own creations.”

The title, Strange Fruit echoes the iconic Billie Holiday song that speaks of lynching’s horrific legacy in the American South. While the poem twists the cheerful theme song of the 1960s CBS television series Green Acres, highlighting the grim reality of incarceration rather than a California dream.

Strange Fruit is part of the Neo Jim Crow Art movement, protesting against mass incarceration, drawing parallels to Michelle Alexander’s The New Jim Crow and the enduring legacy of Jim Crow-era injustice.

C-Note challenges viewers to confront the tragic consequences of a system he feels is fundamentally unjust. He highlights the particular vulnerability of incarcerated women and how the prison system itself can lead to despair. C-Note likens Sandra Bland, who died in police custody after a dubious traffic stop, a modern-day Emmett Till – an innocent victim whose death sparked outrage.

Own a Piece of Impact: “Strange Fruit” Print

By purchasing a print, you’re not just acquiring art; you’re embracing a cause. “Strange Fruit” is more than decor; it’s a conversation starter and a symbol of activism.

Support the movement for justice and reform. Let this powerful piece inspire change and conversation in your space – click on the image below πŸ‘‡

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