Transformation by Zhi Kai
Medium: Cardboard, yarn, markers, pen, paper
I came into prison at 19 years old, I am now 54 years old. I have served a total of 35 consecutive years ( 5 years in isolation, 14 years in California and 12 years in Oklahoma and currently in Minnesota). I am a first time offender and have spent more time in prison than out.
Both my works of art are about transformation and are meant to be thought provoking about how that process happens.
My inner city piece takes you on a walk in another person’s shoes. The inner city is a disadvantaged place to live, when in a dumpster or on the street, literally. What if you grew up with signs that Whites need not apply? What if you grew up and almost wished you were Black? Transformation is the street that has changed from a chalk outline of a crime scene to chalk drawn for hopscotch, the homeless with a shopping cart to the mom getting groceries with her shopping cart, etc.
My death penalty piece is about people being salvageable. I am not the same person at 19 years old, then 29, 39, 49, nor will I be at 59 years old.
I am Chinese, Thai, Caucasian and while not Black, not White. I am a transmale which means I was born female and am becoming a man. Sometimes people wish they weren’t LBGTQ+ and different. I feel that pain, punishment and prejudice. I don’t know if people discriminate against me because I’m Asian, transmale, a prisoner or because they think I’m a jackhole or because they are one!
Zhi Kai Hoffman Vanderford #145673
1010 W. 6th Ave.
Shakopee, MN 55379