An ArtPrize Narrative: Part 2

First, read part 1 here

The hundreds of ceramic plates hung heavily on the wall. I walked slowly around a few other pieces in the room, but kept my eye on the plates. The blue on the plates dragged my sight from the various sculptures in the room.

Old men and young art students gathered along the walls and I joined them. A curly-haired man with glasses murmured and rubbed his chin. He pointed at an oval-shaped plate. Many of the plates were elaborately designed. This plate had a simple border and typeface scrawled in the middle.

“Did not request last meal”

I read the plate several times.

Other plates featured peaches, turkey legs, and pizza. They varied in diameter, from fist-sized to backpack-sized.

I came across another bare plate.

“Did not receive last meal”

The inspiration for the plates was taken from real accounts of last meals. The artist spent a portion of his life in Texas, where he frequently read about last meals in his local newspaper. According to his artist’s statement, executions were events in Texas.

My feet slid slowly along with the crowd next to the wall of plates. My eyes hovered over the plates and soaked in the reality of the last meal.

Birthday cake last meal plate.
An inmate received a birthday cake for his last meal.

“He never had a birthday cake so we ordered a birthday cake for him”

What a time to celebrate.

As I took in the immensity of the exhibit, the hours of work to craft each plate, and the number of deaths, I realized that ArtPrize matters.

Art is not just the indulgence of creative minds. Art is seeing and understanding. Art is where our deepest existential longings meet the most tangible realities of our world.

Art is accessible by anyone. Art is as simple as plates on a wall.

Art is as simple telling the truth.

Last meal plates.
The exhibit was inspired by the last meals of Death Row inmates.
Posted inArts, Off-Campus

Published by Michael Stone

Hi guys, I'm Michael Stone! I'm from Kalamazoo, MI (the zoo!) and I'm in the Hope College class of 2019. I like to play music, do things outside, and talk about life. Funny is possible. insta: m.chaelstone snap: guywearinghat

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