Street Art to Save an Innocent


Written by Marlon Dolcy
06 Monday 06th December 2010

Making the invisible, visible is a collaboration between the Brothers and Sisters creative team Lisa Jelliffe and Kirsten Rutherford and the German Street Art collective Mentalgassi. The collaboration will see Mentalgassi create a series of art installations for Amnesty International, highlighting the case of Troy Davis, a 42-year old man on Death Row in Georgia.

The case of Troy Davis has been a long running campaign for Amnesty, having been imprisoned on insubstantial witness testimony. A lenticular poster by Mentalgassi has been put up on a fence in Central London depicting a close up of Davis' face. The image is a kind of optical illusion which is only visible when approaching the fence from the side but invisible when looking straight at it.
Troy Davis has spent the last 19 years of his life on Georgia’s death row, convicted of killing Police officer Mark Allen Mac Phail in Savannah, Georgia, August the 18th 1989. Here is a series of important facts that surrounds Davis’s case. No physical evidence links Davis to the crime, the murder weapon was never found, and his conviction was based exclusively on 9 eye witness accounts, 7 of which have since unofficially recanted their testimonies but none have made a formal recantation as required by law. Most of these witnesses have stated that they were coerced into implicating Davis as the shooter, one was initially a suspect in the crime, whilst three have claimed that they did not see the murder.
These facts alone should at the very least offer him the chance of review of a case, that had been subjected to an abuse of Troy’s constitutional rights and which highlights extreme police misconduct. Davis has come close to being executed several times, and 2008 came within an hour of losing his life.


The desire to see the death penalty implemented for Davis is attributed to the fact that he has the tag 'cop killer' hanging above his name. Therefore the conservative solidarity has become restless in the need for an irrevocable execution date, for the final satisfaction that the death penalty will deliver a clear warning.

Yet what is the role of the death penalty in a Western democratic society? Albert Camus argued that capital punishment as a deterrent was ineffective, and furthermore grounded in instinct emotions and revenge, rather than law or principle which are the inherently the key components of justice.

The head of art at Amnesty said of the project “This is an amazing and striking new way of taking the Amnesty message into the streets and this project is set to boost that still further

Whether you believe in capital punishment or not is not the main issue here. The main issue is this: should a man be sentenced to death when we are not 100% certain that he is guilty of committing the crime? The answer is a resounding no, yet some people fail to comprehend this assertion.

The art installations can be seen at 4-7 Great Pulteney St, 21 Great Pulteney Street, and 5 Berners St (all W1). 

A plaque on each site alerts passers-by to an Amnesty website ( where they can sign a petition calling for justice for Davis.


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  • Guest: suzannedonoghue
    Fri 06 - Jan - 2012, 16:52
    Amazing it's a powerful message, and just what I needed for a case study for my own work. Thanks! ~ SURZANNE Freelance Artist -
  • Guest: ibizarre
    Tue 07 - Dec - 2010, 10:25
    Great post guys! Thanks.