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Caloocan inmates mark Valentine's Day with art showcase

MANILA, Philippines - The Caloocan City Jail inmates celebrated Valentine’s Day yesterday with an art showcase for the benefit of sick and aged detainees.

Superintendent Lyndon Torres, the jail warden, described their two-day activity Puso Para sa Priso art exhibit, which kicked off Friday, a “total success.”

The 20 paintings the inmates worked on since December with prices ranging P3,500 to P5,000 were almost “sold out” as of press time yesterday, Torres said.

“Out of 20 paintings, 16 have already been sold,” Torres told The STAR in a text message at around 3 p.m.

Torres said one-half of the project’s proceeds would be given directly to the artists on Thursday while the remaining would go to the basic needs of the inmates, “especially the aged and the sick.”

Caloocan City Jail, designed for 500 prisoners only, now houses more than 1,300 inmates.

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“I gave my best in my every piece of work so that art lovers would like it, in that way I would also be able to help my fellow inmates and at the same time earn something for me and my family,” said Randy Sorilla, 42, an inmate-artist who contributed 13 paintings to the project.

An architect bought two of Sorilla’s paintings—Morning in the Harbor for P4,500 and Cow and the Horses for P5,000.

According to the project’s supporters, apart from being art collectors, they also wanted to help prisoners.

“This kind of work could fetch more than double its price when bought outside (the city jail),” one of them said.

Torres said he would push through with the program “to expose the craftsmanship of our brothers behind bars and help them earn while in prison.” – Pete Laude

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