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Anthony Ray Hinton Spent Almost 30 Years on Death Row. Now He Has a Message for White America.

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Anthony Ray Hinton was mowing the lawn at his mother's house in 1985 when Alabama police came to arrest him for 2 murders he did not commit. One took place when he was working the night shift at a Birmingham warehouse. Yet the state won a death sentence, based on 2 bullets it falsely claimed matched a gun found at his mother's home. In his powerful new memoir, "The Sun Does Shine: How I Found Life and Freedom on Death Row," Hinton describes how racism and a system stacked against the poor were the driving forces behind his conviction. He also writes about the unique and unexpected bonds that can form on death row, and in particular about his relationship with Henry Hays, a former Klansman sentenced to death for a notorious lynching in 1981. Hays died in the electric chair in 1997 - 1 of 54 people executed in Alabama while Hinton was on death row.
After almost 30 years, Hinton was finally exonerated in 2015, thanks to the Equal Justice Initiative, or EJI. On April 27…

Ben Quilty says he would rather live on Indonesian execution island than with kowtowing politicians

Ben Quilty
Ben Quilty
Ben Quilty will leave Australia if politicians do not campaign for the abolition of the death penalty in countries like China and the United States.

The Archibald Prize-winning artist and Art Gallery of NSW trustee said, with a dose of black humour, he would rather live on Indonesia's execution island than witness Australian politicians kowtow to countries that kill their citizens.

"Next year is the 50th anniversary of the last person executed in Australia and if some politicians don't get up and use a soap box to proclaim that to the world, I'm leaving," he said.

Ronald Ryan was hanged in Melbourne in February 1967 for the murder of a prison officer during an escape from Pentridge prison in 1965.

Asked where he would settle, Quilty said: "I don't care. I'd rather live on Nusa Kambangan than have no politicians stand up for the great parts of what we've achieved."

"We haven't executed anyone for 50 years. We have things to be proud of but politicians like to kowtow to countries that still execute people, namely China and America and no one f***ing says anything."

Quilty was speaking at last month's Art Basel Hong Kong art fair where his large-scale autobiographical painting, After Afghanistan, Over the Hills and Far Away, priced at $130,000, was sold by Melbourne's Tolarno Galleries to an undisclosed buyer.

Quilty said the painting started as a self-portrait "and I guess in a way it maps out the last few years of me being alive".

In particular, the painting focuses on Quilty's experiences in Afghanistan, which he visited in 2011 as an official war artist, and his involvement in the ultimately unsuccessful campaign to save Andrew Chan and Myuran Sukumaran from an Indonesian firing squad.

"I'm intrigued and attracted and repulsed at the same time by those experiences," he says. "This work references directly the response of young men I met in Afghanistan to the way Afghanistan has slipped backwards since they pulled out."

Quilty refuses to shy away from controversial topics, with his next show at Tolarno in June featuring paintings and a video work of a young Hazara refugee and life vests that he found on a beach on the Greek island of Lesbos.

After Afghanistan comprises 4 canvas panels and features an anguished face coloured in shades of green and purple floating above the headless figure of a naked reclining woman.

Quilty also painted an Afghani kolba or household dwelling under stormy skies.

"This domestic symbol prompted him to consider the implications of the Taliban's return to power after the withdrawal of the Australian Defence Forces," the catalogue states. "Their resumption of control over Afghan society has pushed women back into their previous subservient role."

Pearl Lam Galleries, meanwhile, displayed Quilty's Rorschach work of Nusa Kambangan - the Indonesian island where the 2 convicted Australian drug smugglers were executed in 2015.

"It's probably not a work I would have shown in Australia because I'm not ready really to go into too much conversation about that yet," Quilty says.

A regular in Hong Kong, Quilty says Art Basel and the constellation of other art fairs are obvious places for Australian artists to exhibit.

"It's just allowed us artists to be seen for how good we are and I think we mix it perfectly well," he says.

Source: Canberra Times, April 3, 2016

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