The final meals of executed murderers have long been the subject of fascination, derision and tut-tutting by death penalty opponents. A website that tracked the final food passages of Texas death row inmates was widely read but extremely controversial. Some folks think it’s nobody’s business what a condemned killer eats before taking the needle. The Tulsa World reports that artist Julie Green has painted more than 500 plates for an exhibition depicting the terminal meals of inmates. She hopes this will inspire people to discuss and debate the death penalty. That justification is an empty plate: No shortage of such discussions is evident. During the season of Easter and Passover, some might find the title of Green’s exhibition offensive. It’s called “The Last Supper” and thus links the execution of an innocent Christ with the execution of convicted killers. Their victims weren’t given a menu before losing their lives.
Artist Julie Green walks past her exhibit at Living Arts in Tulsa during a show of her work in 2006. Green’s project “The Last Supper” features painted images on dinner plates of death row inmates’ last meals. Several of the paintings depict the last meals of Oklahoma inmates. Courtesy Deborah Brackenberry