On Death Row, Creating Art from Pain

Updated: May 26, 2020

Despite the 5,000 miles between them, death row inmate “Moyo” and pen pal Maria Jain have come together to showcase his series of Buddha portraits in the exhibition “Buddhas on Death Row.”

American Buddhist artist, Moyo, studies the image of the Buddha using a multitude of mediums. Purposeful strokes of prison-issued watercolor paint, jewel-toned ink, colored pencil, and crayon all come together to manifest his unique vision of the Buddha — almost always depicted with a delicate smile. He does this from his cell in solitary confinement, smaller than the average parking space, where he has sat on death row for the last sixteen years.

At the age of 18, Moyo was convicted of murder and sentenced to death. He has, he says, devoted the unknown amount of time left in his life to using his existence in “worthy ways” — creating artwork from pain, working to make a positive “ripple” in the world. This mission has manifested itself in an art exhibition, “Buddhas On Death Row,” passionately co-created and organized by his pen pal, and dear friend, Maria Jain.

Click here to continue reading this article by Lilly Greenblatt in Lion’s Roar.

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