“In Death Row’s Shadow” Exhibition & Dialogue

Amnesty International Malaysia (AIM) and the Civil Rights Committee of the Kuala Lumpur and Selangor Chinese Assembly Hall (KLSCAH – CRC) are organising an Anti Death Penalty Awareness month throughout the month of October.

Using the concept of ‘creative activism’, AIM and KLSCAH – CRC will be bringing you an art exhibition, a film festival & dialogue and a public discussion with photographer Toshi Kazama! Regardless of which side of the fence you decide to perch on, you are bound to be drawn to the artistic morbidity of this series of events.

The events are in conjunction with the World Coalition’s 9th World Day Against the Death Penalty which falls on 10th October 2011. This year’s World Day focuses on the Inhumanity of the Death Penalty. The theme addresses the death penalty as a form of cruel, inhuman and degrading form of punishment not just during execution but throughout the entire process.

“The mental anguish a person endures knowing that he/she is living only to be killed is incomparable to any other kind of torture”, says Nora Murat, Executive Director of AIM. In many countries, death row inmates are kept in appalling conditions. Some such as Brandon Rhode who was executed in Georgia last year were driven to the brink of insanity. Brandon Rhode had been so terrified of his execution that he attempted suicide on the morning of the day. He was resuscitated only to be executed a week later.

In Malaysia, our year has been punctuated by tales of young individuals tethering precariously on the edge of the scaffold as they await news of their fate. Yong Vui Kong and Cheong Chun Yin are hardly strangers to us anymore. Many times have we read and heard, perhaps even retold the tragedy of their naivety. Then there are the stories of starry eyed lovers and even the mentally disabled who are duped into carrying drugs!

“Everyone knows the issues surrounding the death penalty. Yet, we tend to take it for granted that it is necessary and we avoid talking about it. To some people it’s still taboo”, says Liau Kok Fah, CRC-KLSCAH Chairperson. “We hope that highlighting the issue in a less formal setting, we will be able to get more people to rethink their stand. Through arts, exhibition, film screening and dialogue, public can understand the logical discourse of death penalty, and comprehend the reasoned debate of human rights  ”.

So, dive into the inkwells of some creative minds in our Art Exhibition themed, “In Death Row’s Shadow”. The exhibition will run from 1st – 10th October 2011 at the Kuala Lumpur and Selangor Chinese Assembly Hall (KLSCAH). On weekdays it will be open from 3.00 pm till 9.00 pm while on weekends it will be open from 11.00 am till 9.00 pm. We will be featuring an array of local, US and Singaporean water colour, acrylic painting, sculptor, and visual arts artists such as Zelin Seah, Susan Loone, Seelan Palay and Chong Kim Chiew.

Then, on 8th and 9th October 2011 we will imbibe you into the murky areas between life and death. On both days, from 2.00 pm-5pm and 7pm-10.00 pm we will be showing powerful films and documentaries on the death penalty. Can the death penalty ever be voluntary? How does one use the death penalty to rid oneself off an errant wife? Whatever the question may be, share them with us.

Finally, on 23 October 2011 experience the reality of the death penalty through US based, Japanese photographer Toshi Kazama. Toshi Kazama is an activist who photographs the faces of juvenile offenders on death row. His interest arose because as he raised his own children in USA, he was compelled to study the local criminal justice system. This opened his eyes to the problems within the system.  He also photographs death chambers in USA.

Nora Murat, says, “Through our experience, we notice that young people react better to activities which allow them to express their own individuality. So if we want people to understand that the death penalty is inhuman, we need to be able to bring this issue to level where people are able to relate and where it is tangible”.

在这个十月份,国际特赦组织马来西亚分会将连同吉隆坡暨雪兰莪中华大会堂民权委员会举办反死刑觉醒月。

在“创意行动主义”的概念下,国际特赦组织马来西亚分会和雪华堂民权委员会将为你呈现多项节目,包括艺术展,电影分享会还有与知名摄影师风间聪的公开交流会!无论你对死刑持有何种立场,你势必会被这一系列节目所呈现的艺术品所吸引。

此活动是为了配合在2001年10月10日由世界死刑联盟发起的第九届世界反死刑日。今年的世界日着重于死刑本质上的不人道。这次的主题是为了表达出死刑是一种极其残忍,不人道及侮辱人格的惩罚,其特质不仅仅表现在处决的时候,在整个过程中也是如此。

“当一个人知道他/她活着只是等待被杀死,所承受的精神折磨比任何一种酷刑更加痛苦” 国际特赦组织马来西亚分会执行董事诺拉·姆拉特如此说道。在许多国家,死囚都被扣押在极为恶劣的环境下。有些死囚譬如去年在格鲁吉亚被处死的布兰登·罗德已被折磨至濒临精神错乱。布兰登·罗德对于其处决感到无比恐惧以至于在当天早上试图自杀。他在被救活后的一个星期却又被处决。

在马来西亚,一些年轻人被拴上绳圈在绞刑台边缘摇摇欲坠的故事不时将我们的生活打断。杨伟光和张俊炎这两个名字对我们不再陌生。我们多次读到和听到,甚至也在重述着他们天真的悲剧。然后还有很多这样的故事,被爱蒙蔽双眼而意乱情迷的人,甚至是智障者都被欺骗利用运送毒品。

“每个人都知道这些围绕于死刑的课题。然而,我们总是理所当然的认为这是必要的,我们避免谈论它。对一些人来说它仍然是禁忌。”雪华堂民权委员会主席廖国华说道。“我们希望能在一些较为轻松环境凸现这个课题,这样我们可以让更多人去从新思考他们的立场。”

所以,在我们的以“死囚之影”为题的艺术特展中,你可以潜入这满满创意思维的墨井中。展览于2011年10月1日至10日在吉隆坡暨雪兰莪中华大会堂举行。开放时间是星期一至五,中午3时到晚上9时,而周末则是从上午11时到晚上9时。本次展览将由本地和新加坡水彩画家,雕塑家,和视觉艺术家为你呈现。

2011年10月8日及9日,我们会把你带入生与死的黑暗领域。在这两天,从中午2时到晚上10时,我们将呈献关于死刑的震撼电影和纪录片。死刑可以是自愿的吗?一个人怎样利用死刑来摆脱一个对自己不忠的妻子?无论问题是什么,欢迎来与我们分享。

最后,在10月23日,透过日裔美籍摄影师风间聪的作品分享死刑的体验。风间聪是一名社运分子,他拍攝多位青少年死囚的照片。由于他在美国抚养自己的孩子,这激起他的兴趣让他去研究当地的刑事司法系统。这让他看清这系统里存在的问题。他也拍摄了多张死牢里的照片。

About givelife2ndchance

Give Life 2nd Chance is a movement dedicated to work on abolish death penalty in Malaysia.
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