A show currently running at the Sarratt Gallery in Nashville, Tennessee, features artwork created by prisoners on death row at Riverbend Maximum Security Institution in Nashville. According to the description of the show:
The art seeks to convey the prison environment and to explore possibilities for living, thinking, working, and creating while on death row. This show grows out of a weekly philosophy discussion group facilitated by Dr. Lisa Guenther of the Vanderbilt Philosophy Department, in which prisoners and volunteers meet to discuss work by Plato, Martin Luther King, Michelle Alexander, and others. This art exhibition is the result of our collective effort to expand the discussion beyond the prison walls and beyond the language of philosophy.
Several of the pieces, reproduced below, directly address the reality of life in long-term solitary confinement, which all of the artists have experienced. For more details about the show, additional samples of artwork, and links to poems, essays, and stories by the men on Death Row, click here. For more information on Vanderbilt University’s “A Year of Rethinking Prisons,” of which this show is a part, click here. For Lisa Guenther’s writing on solitary confinement, click here.