Week Against Death Penalty opens with poster exhibition
October 5, the Week against the Death Penalty started in Minsk. It was opened with an exhibition of posters dedicated to this issue. The majority of them belong to a project of the World Coalition Against the Death Penalty, “Death Is Not Justice”. The logical centre of the exhibition was formed by a series of works “Six Arguments Against the Death Penalty”, created by a Belarusian artist from Vilnius, Siarhei Ablazhei.
Speaking at the opening of the exhibition in the “Goliaths” gallery, the coordinator of the campaign “Human Rights Defenders Against the Death Penalty in Belarus” Andrei Paluda turned the attention of the present people to the main poster of the event: coloured figures of two men – a victim and an executioner. "Today, opening the Week Against the Death Penalty, I want to say that it will be held under the slogan "Death Penalty Is Murder". In their letters death row convicts wrote that they have a habit to sculpt the figures of a victim and an executioner from bread. We decided to use this strong image and put it into a poster to show how psychologically difficult it was for the criminals condemned to death to wait for execution and how they become victims themselves. This is a thin temporary boundary which is called the corridor of death, when they are really afraid of doors, because, as reported by a former head of the prison in Valadarski Street Aleh Alkayeu, the death comes in through them. They vigilantly listen to what is going on outside of their chambers, waiting to be lead out for the execution.
"The shootingsare conducted on behalf of the state. Nevertheless, it is still a crime"
Returning to the arguments against the death penalty, we, the representatives of the campaign "Human Rights Defenders Against the Death Penalty" often hesitated which of them were the most important ones and finally decided to make videos telling about six of these arguments. The authors of the project, Palina Stsepanenka and Viktar Tratsiakou have already managed to make four out of the six short videos and continue working on the remaining ones. After this, there came the idea of making the posters which could serve as a metaphoric illustration of these arguments, the more that there is still no other artistic embodiment of the issue of the death penalty in Belarus than the well-known work of Uladzimir Tsesler "Say NO to the death penalty".
Novelist and screenwriter Palina Stsepanenka told why the "bread men" are placed on the poster in color. The matter is that while working on a video clip dedicated to the Week Against the Death Penalty, they learned from prisoners that they often paint these figures, squeezing ink from pen cartridges.
Palina Stsepanenka also spoke about the work on the creation of the cycle of videos "Six Arguments Against the Death Penalty":
"During the work, we realized that we also needed posters on this topic. Here, in the hall, you can see thirty posters of the World Coalition Against the Death Penalty (all in all, there are more than a hundred such posters), whereas not a single such graphical work had been created in Belarus by that time. That's why we applied to a well-known artist Aleh Ablazhei, who lives in Vilnius. He managed to metaphorically convey these arguments on graphic posters. Today we exhibit these three-colour black-red-white posters for the first time. By the way, there are not six, but seven of them. Mr. Ablazhei has spent much time deciding on the image for one of the arguments. As a result, he made two posters for it so that we could decide which one was better. However, we were unable to reject any of his works. Therefore, on of the arguments is represented by two posters.
Visitors of the exhibition had an opportunity to view the fourth film from the series “Six Arguments Against the Death Penalty”, telling about killings of political opponents and mass shootings.
At the end of the exhibition Andrei Paluda pointed that “human rights defenders will hold these traditional weeks until Belarus is freed from the death penalty” and called the people to visit the unique poster exhibition, held in Minsk on October 6-7.