The O. Smith Perspective

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The O. Smith Perspective

July 30 @ 12:00 pm - September 10 @ 5:00 pm


Manna Gallery is proud to announce a special showing of the illustrated narrative artwork of Orlando Smith, who is also incarcerated at San Quentin State Prison.  This exhibition opened Saturday, July 30 and continues to September 10, 2022.

In a statement mailed to the gallery from San Quentin, Orlando says, “My work and creative process for the last 2 1/2 decades of incarceration has resulted in the creation of more than 55 graphic novels and countless other art projects, mostly  outside of my prison walls.  I’ve done comic book covers for a host of “indie” comic book companies, postcards, t-shirt designs, public installations, storyboards for motion picture companies and the William James Association whom I work for with Arts in Corrections.  I have won multiple art contests across the nation and I even have my very own yearly calendar that I donate to social justice organizations. I have started a protest poster series and have participated in dozens of exhibitions for varied and diverse subjects and causes.

“Art remains as a strong contender of how we share ideas, thoughts and the truth. Throughout 2020, the coronavirus ravaged San Quentin State

Prison residents, resulting in 29 deaths. Hearing misinformation on corporate news outlets and disinformation coming from prison officials, I had to pivot from the comfort and pleasure of comic book creating to expose the blatant lies, injustice and human rights abuses through illustrated journalism.

“I have suffered punitive actions and reprisals which will be used against me at my parole board hearing.  I have done work on insight and redirected myself from criminal thinking to restructured critical thinking. I no longer pose a threat to public safety – still…systemic injustice is  real as the moon in the sky.

“Now, with the 2024 election year coming up, there is a lot of Republican talk about law and order, but what does that actually mean to people who suffer from not having equal justice. In “The Gruelling Report” and “The O.Smith Perspective”, the mix of words and imagery point to the deprivation of basic human rights, a policy San Quentin does not follow. I have no grand illusions that my art will create a revolution, but an evolution in a person’s thoughts and perceptions towards a balanced narrative.

“Let me make a strong statement here.  The thought of being called a “prison artist” really is a restrictive category.  I’m an artist who happens to be incarcerated.  My art speaks beyond just prisoners’ rights.  I touch on a great many social issues, too…take a look!”


July 30 @ 12:00 pm
September 10 @ 5:00 pm
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Manna Gallery


Manna Gallery
473 25th St.
Oakland, CA 94612 United States
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