A series of upcoming events at Duke University Chapel examines mass incarceration, including through the perspective of people on death row and their loved ones.
The series, Always Human: Re-Visioning Justice, “attempts to recognize the varied history and purpose of prisons in the United States and in Christian traditions.”
“The goal of Always Human: Re-Visioning Justice is to both cast a critical eye on the current state of the criminal justice system in America and also to highlight ways that communities and individuals are seeking both justice and hope,” the university says.
It centers on two exhibits, both of which are now on display.
Standing on Love is a collection of portraits of people with family members on death row. The images are by freelance photographer Jenny Warburg. The exhibit is on display in Duke Chapel through December 2. There will be an opening reception tonight at 6:15 p.m., including remarks by some of the people photographed.
“Their faces and words are meant to offer a chance to reflect on the meaning of values such as justice, mercy, and compassion,” the university says.
Serving Life, on display in the Rubenstein Arts Center through December 10, has three components: “life maps,” in which men on death row visually represent their lives with limited materials; large-scale artist renderings drawing on each map; and phones through which attendees can hear to recordings of men on death row sharing their personal stories. The artists behind this exhibit are Billy Dee, Carlyn Wright-Eakes, Catherine Edgerton, Jessie Gladdek, Jodi Hart, Joseph Amodei, Kofi Boone and Hossein Saedi, Lamar Whidbee, Michael Betts II, Michelle Preslik, Nureena Faruqi, Rachel Campbell and Kelly Baker-Trapp, Stephen Hayes, Sufia Ikbal-Doucet, and William Paul Thomas.
Lynden Harris, founder and director of the community arts collective Hidden Voices, will give a talk about Serving Life on Friday at noon in the Ruby, and an exhibit reception will be held December 1, from 11:00 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. in the same location.
In addition to the exhibits, the Chapel will also host a panel discussion, Re-Visioning Justice, as part of its regular Bridge Panel Series, which “broadly seeks to connect people from disparate walks of life in order to discover shared pathways toward the beloved community of God.”
Panelists include Douglas Campbell, professor of New Testament at Duke Divinity School; Drew Doll, reentry coordinator for the Religious Coalition of a Nonviolent Durham; and Durham District Court Judge Shamieka L. Rhinehart. That discussion will be held on November 20 at 7:00 p.m.