Sergei Parajanov photographed behind bars and wires.
Nearly all of his film projects and plans from 1965–1973 were banned, scrapped or closed by the Soviet film administration almost without discussion until he was finally arrested in late 1973 on charges of homosexuality. Parajanov was imprisoned until 1977, despite a plethora of pleas for pardon from various esteemed artists.
While incarcerated Parajanov produced a large number of miniature doll-like sculptures (some of which were lost) and some 800 drawings and collages, many of which were later displayed in Yerevan, where the Parajanov Museum is now permanently located. His efforts in the camp were repeatedly compromised by prison guards, who deprived him of materials and called him mad, their cruelty only subsiding after a statement from Moscow admitted “the Director is very talented.”
Upon his return from prison to Tbilisi, the close watch of Soviet censors prevented Parajanov from continuing his cinematic pursuits and steered him towards artistic outlets which he had nurtured during his time in prison. He crafted extraordinarily intricate collages, created a large collection of abstract drawings and pursued numerous other avenues of non-cinematic art, sewing more dolls and some whimsical suits.