Serving Life is part of Always Human: Re-Visioning Justice, a multi-site event series organized by Duke Chapel and other collaborators that examines prisons and mass incarceration from a variety of perspectives and through a variety of media.
Gallery 235 at the Rubenstein Arts Center 2020 Campus Dr Durham,
Since 2013, the community arts collective Hidden Voices has collaborated with people on death rows across the country to envision an arts project able to generate the civic will to revision justice. One result of that collaboration is the Serving Life exhibition. It aims to challenge assumptions about guilt and innocence and to provide a vehicle for the public to connect with the actual lives hidden within an impenetrable system. This exhibit is part of Hidden Voices’ ongoing series Serving Life: Re-Visioning Justice.
Serving Life has three components. The first is twelve “life maps,” which men on death row created using limited materials—such as toilet paper, nondairy creamer, and recycled cardboard—in response to an invitation to portray an aspect of their life journey. The second component is a collection of large-scale renderings of an element from each map. These were created by artists using techniques including ceramics, assemblage, and sculpture. The final component is a series of phones, which you can lift to listen to recordings of men on death row sharing personal stories. At the close of the exhibit, visitation booths invite you to reflect and respond to these men.
The collaborating artists for the exhibition 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.
In collaboration with community and campus partners, the Duke University Chapel project Always Human: Re-Visioning Justice casts a critical eye on the current state of the criminal justice system in America and highlights ways that communities and individuals are seeking both justice and hope. The project is based around concurrent exhibitions—Standing on Love in Duke Chapel and Serving Life: Re-Visioning Justice at the Rubenstein Arts Center—along with events that address the themes of the exhibitions.