FEATURED POST

In the crosshairs of conscience: John Kitzhaber's death penalty reckoning

Image
To cope with his dread, John Kitzhaber opened his leather-bound journal and began to write.
It was a little past 9 on the morning of Nov. 22, 2011. Gary Haugen had dropped his appeals. A Marion County judge had signed the murderer's death warrant, leaving Kitzhaber, a former emergency room doctor, to decide Haugen's fate. The 49-year-old would soon die by lethal injection if the governor didn't intervene.
Kitzhaber was exhausted, having been unable to sleep the night before, but he needed to call the families of Haugen's victims.
"I know my decision will delay the closure they need and deserve," he wrote.
The son of University of Oregon English professors, Kitzhaber began writing each day in his journal in the early 1970s. The practice helped him organize his thoughts and, on that particular morning, gather his courage.
Kitzhaber first dialed the widow of David Polin, an inmate Haugen beat and stabbed to death in 2003 while already serving a life sentence fo…

4000 visit executed Bali 9 member Myuran Sukumaran’s exhibition at Campbelltown Arts Centre in first week

Another Day In Paradise: "The interest has been so strong that staff
have to order two reprints of the exhibition program."
CLOSE to 4000 people have visited the Myuran Sukumaran: Another Day in Paradise exhibition in its first week of opening at Campbelltown Arts Centre.

The interest has been so strong that staff have had to order two reprints of the exhibition program and the show will also open on Australia Day so more people have the chance to visit.

Campbelltown Arts Centre director Michael Dagostino, who co-curated the exhibition with Sukumaran’s mentor Ben Quilty, said he was humbled by the attention and the show had attracted high interest from interstate and overseas.

The exhibition features dramatic self portraits painted by Bali Nine member Sukumaran, who was executed in Indonesia in 2015.

Sukumaran found a passion for art and painted the portraits, including a series featuring each Bali Nine member, while incarcerated in Bali’s Kerobokan Jail and from his final incarceration on Nusa Kambangan Island.

The exhibition is part of the Sydney Festival and will be on show at the arts centre until March 26.

Sukumaran’s paintings break the heart


If Campbelltown Arts Centre director Michael Dagostino wanted a thought-provoking exhibition to challenge perceptions and beliefs, he has succeeded a hundred-fold with Another Day in Paradise, featuring the works of executed Bali Nine drug smuggler Myuran Sukumaran.

Curated by Dagastino and artist Ben Quilty for the Sydney Festival, the first major exhibition of works by Sukumaran commands attention and provokes a reaction from the first glance.

Sukumaran was 34 when he was executed by firing squad on the prison island of Nusa Kambangan with fellow drug smuggler Andrew Chan, 32, ten years after his arrest in 2005.

But he speaks from the grave through the exhibition at the arts centre and it is an unsettling and emotional experience.

My sympathy for the plight of Sukumaran and Chan was tempered with the fact that the young men were caught peddling heroin, the cause of so much death and destruction locally and globally.

But through his series of striking self-portraits, Sukumaran offers an insight into his long incarceration, his efforts to change and grow up, his sorrow, his guilt, and his redemption.

The Bali Nine, young, naive Australians probably thinking about fast cash with little or no thought to the consequences of their actions, have paid dearly for their crimes.

It is hard to view the self-portraits, particularly the pieces Sukumaran painted in the final 72 hours of his life, without tears.

This rehabilitated young man, who in the most horrible of conditions in the Indonesian penal system somehow managed to turn his life around and help his fellow inmates, was deprived of his second chance.

He wasn’t asking for forgiveness, just to live.

Sukumaran’s story is harsh, raw and devastating.

His earlier work reflects hope and optimism, his later pieces are darker, stark and desperate as time runs out.

The exhibition reflects the futility of his death, the power of art to provoke change and a strong anti-death penalty and anti-drug message.

To anyone who may be attracted to the idea of quick money through smuggling drugs, think again. Here the consequences are laid bare.

To Dagostino, Sukumaran’s friend and mentor Quilty, and Campbelltown Council, congratulations on this excellent world-first exhibition. Human rights and rehabilitation are indeed at its core, highlighting how art can heal even in the most harshest of circumstances.

But don’t take my word for it. Go and see it for yourself.

Source: Daily Telegraph, January 23-24, 2017

⚑ | Report an error, an omission, a typo; suggest a story or a new angle to an existing story; submit a piece, a comment; recommend a resource; contact the webmaster, contact us: deathpenaltynews@gmail.com.


Opposed to Capital Punishment? Help us keep this blog up and running! DONATE!

Most Viewed (Last 7 Days)

New Hampshire: More than 50,000 anti-death penalty signatures delivered to Sununu

Texas: The accused Santa Fe shooter will never get the death penalty. Here’s why.

Malaysian court sentences Australian grandmother to death by hanging

Post Mortem – the execution of Edward Earl Johnson

Convicted killer from infamous “Texas 7” prison escape gets execution date

Ohio: Lawyers seek review of death sentence for 23-year-old Clayton man

Texas man on death row for decapitating 3 kids loses appeal

Amnesty International Once Again Highlights Shocking Justice System in Iran

Maria Exposto: Can she avoid execution?

Ohio man with execution set for July 18 blames killing on ‘homosexual panic’