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"The Last Supper" illustrates the humanity of death row inmates

800 plates memorialize inmates' last meals and bring empathy and enlightenment to the issue of capital punishment. On view at Bellevue Art Museum through Oct, 2021.

BELLEVUE, Wash. — What would you request as your last meal? As you gaze at the long lines of ceramic plates hanging neatly in a row you can't help but wonder.

Each plate in the exhibit, The Last Supper, represents a U.S. Death Row inmate and depicts their last meal before execution. Each one gives insight into the human behind the request, giving clues to who they were, where they were from, their economic background and even family history.  Each meal captures a rich story.

Artist and Professor of Art at Oregon State University, Julie Green, was inspired to create the work in 1999, when reading about a last meal request in the morning paper, "Why do we have this tradition of final meals, I wondered, after seeing a request for six tacos, six glazed donuts, and a cherry Coke. Twenty years later, I still wonder."   

So far 800 plates have been completed and the collection will be continue to grow by 50 plates a year until capital punishment is abolished or the milestone of 1,000 plates is reached.

The Last Supper: 800 Plates Illustrating Final Meals of US Death Row Inmates is on view at Bellevue Arts Museum through Oct. 21, 2021.  

Segment Producer Suzie Wiley. Watch New Day Northwest 11 AM weekdays on KING 5 and streaming live on KING5.com. Contact New Day.