Alan O'Cain - Sentence: A Work in Progress

Alan O’Cain’s eye-opening exhibition follows the harrowing story of an un-named man, who following the financial troubles in 2008 America, pled guilty to securities fraud and was sentenced to imprisonment in one of America’s toughest detainment facilities. He now shares his space with dangerous convicted criminals, for which his own crime does not match. As he is not a US citizen, he cannot serve his sentence of 16 years in a low-security prison and is not eligible for parole until the year 2022, 14 years into his sentence. 

Alan O’Cain has written to his subject many times, and the pair are in regular contact. Alan describes a family man, university graduate and former art collector whose own world view has shifted phenomenally since his incarceration in the US. Alan has vowed to create a piece of artwork for every year that the subject is held in prison, based on a single photograph he has of the man and his wife when he was under house arrest pending his trial. 

Ushaw is proud to host this exhibition, which has previously been on display in Manchester Cathedral, and represents a lifetime of despair for the subject. Alongside this exhibition is an original soundtrack, created by Mark Carroll, a Newcastle based contemporary composer using a single cello whilst inside St. Cuthbert’s Chapel at Ushaw. The soundtrack includes spoken text of a letter Alan received from the subject containing profound views of freedom and independence.