Larissa Aharoni debuts "GO COWBOYS" & panel organized with The Texas Death Penalty Abolition Movement

Alabama Song welcomes visiting artist Larissa Aharoni to discuss the national debut of her book “GO COWBOYS,” a stark presentation of public executions from various places and time periods throughout visually recorded history. This book was initially conceived and produced during her CentralTrak residency at the University of Texas at Dallas. Aharoni will be accompanied by Gloria Rubac - founder of the Texas Death Penalty Abolition Movement, Regina Schmal Guidry - an avid anti-death penalty advocate and wife of an innocent man currently on death row in Texas, and Chris Lavergne - a 10 year old member of Kids Against the Death Penalty. The Q&A will be moderated by local artist Regina Agu.

About the participants:
Larissa Aharoni was born in 1974 in Cologne (Germany). She currently lives and works in Berlin (Germany). Aharoni holds a masters degree from the Academy of Art in Düsseldorf (2005). She was among the founders of UBERBAU, an independent art space that operated in Düsseldorf from 2000 to 2006. Aharoni, spent much of her career living in Tel Aviv (Israel), where she was a visiting artist in the masters program at the Bezalel Academy of Art and Design. Since 2006, she has participated in several residency programs, produced numerous solo & group exhibitions throughout Israel, the US, and Europe.

Gloria Rubac grew up in the 1960's during the Civil Rights Movement and has since been a life-long activist. She is a retired Houston teacher, a retired union carpenter and a mother, grandmother and great grandmother.

In 1982, when executions began again after a hiatus from a Supreme Court ruling, Rubac and others went to Huntsville to protest the midnight execution of Charlie Brooks, a man that the D.A. in Fort Worth now says was probably not the killer, That night changed her forever as she watched college students with kegs of beer celebrating the execution.

After working on the cases of Ricardo Aldape Guerra and Clarence Brandley during the 1980's, two men who were innocent and eventually freed from death row, she and others formed an organization to fight the death penalty for everyone on death row.

The Texas Death Penalty Abolition Movement has been fighting the death penalty as well as the unconstitutional living conditions of solitary confinement for all those on Texas death row for over two decades. We are a community-based, grass roots organization based at the historic S.H.A.P.E. Community Center in Houston's Third Ward. Our members include family and friends of those on death row as well as those who are opposed to all executions.We are hosting Texas' 15th Annual March to Abolish the Death Penalty here in Houston on October 25 this year. We work in coalition with several other anti-death penalty organizations in Austin and San Antonio and have held this event since 2000 in either Houston or Austin.

Regina Schmal Guidry, originally from Germany, has lived in Houston for well over a decade. She is married to an innocent man on TX death row and has been advocating for him for many years. Regina has a German mother and a Nigerian father and is now a US citizen. She is a deeply religious person who is also opposed the 14 years of total isolation that all those on death row have to live and considers it to be a violation of human rights and Christian morality.

Chris Lavergne is a 10 year old member of Kids Against the Death Penalty. He is a 5th grade student at The Rice School and a member of the Positive Black Male Initiative. This group slept outside this past weekend, in solidarity with the homeless. Christopher Lavergne has traveled to Austin to march and attend film showings about the death penalty. He has met with some of the members of Witness To Innocence, an organization of death row exonerees. 

Regina Agu is an interdisciplinary artist and co-founder of Friends of Angela Davis Park (with artist/collaborator Gabriel Martinez).
Agu was born in Houston and was raised in transit throughout Africa and Europe. She is a graduate of Cornell University. Her practice is an investigation of intersections of collective and personal history, memory, and the physical body. Agu's work has been included in exhibitions, public readings and performances at New Museum, University Museum at Texas Southern University, labotanica, Project Row Houses, Box 13, and Lawndale Arts Center, among other venues. She is a 2012 Houston Arts Alliance Individual Artist Grant recipient and a 2014 Idea Fund grantee.