Excerpts for Art Against the Odds : From Slave Quilts to Prison Paintings

In life people take risks and strive to accomplish goals even though the chances, or odds, of success are slight. This book looks at children and adults who felt compelled to make different kinds of art despite living under the most awful conditions—imprisonment, war, poverty, racism, and illness. In other words, they created art "against the odds." They felt an inner urge to express themselves, not always thinking of their work as art. Yet others perceived it as such. These artists escaped into their art as they created and, in the process, found relief and pleasure.

Many of them had little or no training. Or encouragement. They had to scrounge for materials. Even though they were locked out of the mainstream, they produced works of art that convey powerful emotions of joy and anger, and even reflect a sense of humor. Many of these artworks have historical significance as well. The artists may be unknown or forgotten, but their works live on.