Despite the nightmare of his two decades in federal custody – accused of a non-violent drug crime, assured of his innocence and sentenced to die in prison under draconian drugs laws – Wash’s creative skill is the film’s impelling peculiarity. His circumstances are ordinary, his talent is not.
The politics of prison are behind him, but the politics of life as a professional artist are a new hurdle. “I’d love to meet other artists and find out what’s going on out here,” he says. “I’m learning a lot about art politics on a day-to-day basis. This is all new to me.”