Airplanes

Kansas City artist Benjamin Wills has corresponded with thousands of prisoners over the years, many sending him personalized paper airplanes that are featured in this unique exhibit. They vary in size and design, in content and tone, each representing “a vehicle of escape, missed opportunity, and in some cases rebellion for its creator.”
Dates: 
Saturday, January 12, 2019 to Sunday, March 31, 2019
Location: 
Room: 
Guldner Gallery
Kansas City artist Benjamin Todd Wills has corresponded with thousands of prisoners over the years. When one sent him a paper airplane—its folds, textual content, and illustrations laden with messages both expressed and implicit—it inspired a unique project.

From an ever-growing collection of inmates’ paper plane submissions, Wills fashioned the exhibit Airplanes. The creations vary in size and design, some made from notebook and drawing paper, others from commissary lists, notices of denied appeals, and behavioral writeups. Their content and tone range from regret to hostility, from bravado to humility, each representing, according to Wills, “a vehicle of escape, missed opportunity, and in some cases rebellion for its creator.”

The exhibit also features Wills’ near-life-size depiction of a solitary-confinement prison cell, constructed according to sketches of those who’ve occupied them.