The death penalty is one of the most hotly debated subjects in the world, starting well before this country”s establishment. The arguments on both sides of the subject haven”t exactly wavered over the years, even as countries and states infrequently change their stances on capital punishment.
Whether we will ever one day live in an America where the death penalty is abolished doesn”t affect currently incarcerated inmates. One way these criminals deal with the slow march of inevitable death is to channel their fear and confusion into art. Below are incredibly interesting pieces of art done by death row inmates, some of which are quite exquisite. Could a murderer really create such beauty?
If My Journey Were a Book Title by Derrick Quintero.
Solitary Confinement by Kennath Artez Henderson.
Highway to Hell by Derrick Quintero.
Do I Compel You? by David Duncan.
Open Interpretation by Donald Middlebrooks.
Chairs and Footstools by Richard Odom.
Silence Is Compliance by Donald Middlebrooks.
Donna Summer Tribute by Devin Banks.
Midnight by Donald Middlebrooks.
Barnyard Scene by Dennis Suttles.
The animals and the furniture are made out of white bread and corn dog sticks, respectively.
Let There Be Light by Kennath Artez Henderson.
Hummingbird by Abu Ali Abdur”Rahman.
Lighthouse by Don Johnson.
A Safe Place by Henry Hodges.
As My World Turned by Akil Jahi.
The following works are called “surrogate” pieces. They feature a collaboration between Tennessee”s Riverbend Maximum Security Institution inmates and artists, who asked those on death row about one forbidden thing that they miss. The inmates provide the words, and sometimes much of the art, to create an aspiration of hope with the artist.
The Night Sky by Robin Paris and Tom Williams, with writing by Gary Cone, Harold Wayne Nichols, and Donald Middlebrooks.
Photograph and drawing by Upreyl Mitchell and Kennath Artez Henderson.
Untitled by Abu Ali Abdur”Rahman and Kristi Hargrove.
Untitled by Derrick Quintero and Ann Catherine Carter.
Untitled by Holly Carden and Wayne Nichols.
Untitled by Nickolus Johnson and Zack Rafuls.
One prisoner said about these projects that he hopes they show how death row inmates “are more than that five minutes of time in our lives where we messed up.” From the looks of the rather delicate subjects and tones of the pieces, one needs no reminder just how the artists themselves are, in fact, human beings.