Painted With My Hair

Airing on Friday, the BBC4 transmission of “Painted with My Hair” a film that has absorbed award winning film maker MIke Dibb  (Ways of Seeing, The MIles Davis Story – and so much more) during recent years. The film is about the US ‘penal torture’ of long term solitary confinement and of one remarkable prisoner Donny Johnson’s survival and redemption through writing and art.  Denied conventional materials, he made brushes from his own hair and pigments from the coatings of M&M’s and Skittles sweets. This extraordinary film will be screened on Sunday October 31st at 10.30 pm on BBC 4, then available on BBC iplayer.
Painted with My Hair is a Dibb Directions production for the BBC, filmed by Tom Swindell and Charlie Williams, edited by Christopher Swayne, with music by Clem Clempson and Jon Hiseman, and post production by The Edit Store. Donny’s letters are read by Stanley Tucci and the film was co-produced by Danny Nissim and directed by Mike Dibb. The Dungeon Art of Donny Johnson is a touring exhibition
There will also be a touring exhibition “The Dungeon Art of Donny Johnson” an installation of a lightweight and transportable wooden replica of the tiny concrete cell in which Donny was incarcerated for over 20 years. Around this will be displayed just 50 of the delicate little paintings he managed to create, as well as letters.  Now out of solitary but still locked up, he has never been able to read or see any of them again since he posted them off to his family and friends via the prison mail room, often more than a decade ago!   Watch this space for details of the installation, and how one man found freedom – of a sort.  
Jan Woolf  
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4 Responses to Painted With My Hair

    1. I became a friend to Donnie and I hold years worth of his letters. I was a dj programmer at KHSu and Donnie tuned in to my radio show regularly. I hope he gets freedom. Cant wait to see this documentary!

      Comment by sharon fennell on 31 October, 2021 at 2:08 am
    2. Hello Sharon. A terrific documentary and I liked your contribution. What commitment by Mike Dibb. All best Jan

      Comment by Jan Woolf on 1 November, 2021 at 10:14 pm
    3. Thank you! Mike Dibb is quite amazing. I am waiting for Mike to send me a link in order to see the documentary.
      In Solidarity,
      Sharon Sista Soul Fennell

      Comment by sharon on 17 November, 2021 at 2:03 am
    4. What a remarkable man and a brilliant programme I was moved to tears by his words and paintings and to hear of this awful confinement. Thank you for bringing our attention to this and where and when can we see exhibition in uk ?

      Comment by Julia on 21 November, 2021 at 9:26 pm

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