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Kenneth Reams was on death row for over 25 years. While he and his legal team pursued a federal habeas petition to overturn his conviction, Mr. Reams turned to art as one way to tell his story and the story of mass incarceration in America. Using media that are limited by prisons rules, Mr. Reams’ meticulous drawings, paintings and sculptures tell the macabre history of the death penalty in America.

The exhibit will open on Saturday, October 28, 2023, with a conference featuring conversations with system-impacted artists, including Kristina Bivona (information here) and Knut Vo (information here); a musical performance by Kenyatta Hughes (more information here); and a panel of legal experts speaking about parole and clemency. The conference will begin at 9:30am at Columbia Law School (435 W 116th St, New York, NY 10027) in room JG 102 B. At 12:00pm conference attendees will walk to the SOF Heyman Center, immediately behind the Law School, to view the exhibition.

  • Columbia Center for Contemporary Critical Thought
  • Eric H. Holder Jr. Initiative for Civil and Political Rights
  • The Society of Fellows and Heyman Center for the Humanities