Paños are pen or pencil drawings on fabric, a form of prison artwork made in the Southwest United States.
The first paños, made with pieces of bedsheets and pillowcases, were made in the 1930s. They were originally used to communicate messages. Since then, they became used for primarily artistic purposes, and are often made with handkerchiefs. Prisoners sometimes use paños to get favors. Themes made with the artwork include Catholic faith symbols, Chicano political movement imagery, and prison imagery.
In the 1990s Governor of Texas Ann Richards created enrichment programs for prisons. Michael Hoinski of the Texas Monthly stated that they had "had helped spawn a golden age of paño-making in Texas." The programs were ended during the terms of governors George W. Bush and Rick Perry, and paños are now prohibited in the Texas Department of Criminal Justice.
- Hoinski, Michael. "How Prison Art From Texas Captured the Art World's Attention." Texas Monthly. Thursday February 13, 2014. 1. Retrieved on March 3, 2014.
- Wertkin, Gerard C. Encyclopedia of American Folk Art. Taylor & Francis, January 15, 2004. p. 454. "The best paño artists combine standard prison imagery; the traditional symbols of Catholic faith; and the politicized imagery of the Chicano movement, including Aztec warriors and heroes of the Mexican revolution, to exhor[...]"
- "Denmark // “Paños” – Chicano Prison Art @ MOHS Exhibit | Jan. 4 – Feb. 2." Sinuous Magazine. January 2, 2013. Retrieved on March 3, 2014.
- Hoinski, Michael. "How Prison Art From Texas Captured the Art World's Attention." Texas Monthly. Thursday February 13, 2014. 2. Retrieved on March 3, 2014.
- "Paño: Art from the Inside Out." Museum of International Folk Art
- "Reno Leplat-Torti´collection: PAÑOS - CHICANO PRISON ART." MOHS exhibit, Copenhagen.
- "Paños, Chicano Prison Art / Reno Leplat-Torti’s collection Press kit" (Archive). Reno Leplat-Torti Collection, Paris. September 2013.
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