A brush with death row...

Dorothy Nott and Helen Steel - Pock arts centre
Dorothy Nott and Helen Steel - Pock arts centre

A UNIQUE exhibition of art work created on death row in America has gone on display in Pocklington.

The collection of letters, poems and drawings have been created by convicted murderer Robert Butts, a prisoner at Georgia State Prison who is facing execution.

The 34 year-old has been held on death row since he was found guilty of kidnapping and shooting a man almost 13 years ago.

For the past 10 years, he has been corresponding with lawyer Dorothy Nott from Pocklington, sending her the drawings and poems from his cell.

Ms Nott, who is against the death sentence, began corresponding with Butts after seeing an advertisement in a magazine for a charity that organises pen-friends for prisoners awaiting execution in the USA.

Visual arts officer for the Arts Centre, Helen Steele, said: “In his last 16 years he has clearly matured and used his time profitably to enable him to look beyond the four walls of his prison, developing friendships, interests and beliefs.

“Among his interests are art and poetry, both of which he has pursued to the best of his ability and in spite of difficulties put in his way by the prison authorities, such as the removal of his paintbrushes.

“This is a very intimate collection of personal letters, poems, drawings and paintings.

“It gives a very interesting insight into the personal thoughts and feelings of a prisoner on death row. One of the highlights of the exhibition is a collage of weeds collected from the excercise yard.”

The collection of work will be on display in the cafe area of the venue until 6 September, and is free to view when the Arts Centre is open.

Meanwhile, Ms Nott is planning to give a talk at the Arts Centre about her experiences in communicating with a death row prisoner next Thursday, 18 August at 6pm.

For further details contact the box office on (01759) 301547.