Celia A. Shapiro, "John Rook – 09/11/2001", Ilfochrome print, 2001

Celia A. Shapiro, “John Rook – 09/11/2001”, Ilfochrome print, 2001

Celia A. Shapiro

The Last Supper series

The process of composing these pictures became a profound meditation on violence and how the state metes out justice and retribution. The meal is life given to the body, the execution is life taken from the body. The meals register the juxtaposition between confusion over what is given and what is taken away.

Modernist thought opened doors to the psyche and produced a medical (clinical) approach to the behavior of human beings. Why haven’t we been able to see violent behavior in the same light as other self-destructive behavior? Why has violent behavior been left in the dark, locked away in concepts of condemnation and forgiveness?

Meals are symbolic; they often celebrate important occasions, they sustain us. You can make a meal for your boss, you can make a meal for your lover, you can make a meal for your baby, and, you can make a meal for a condemned person. The body politic is giving sustenance to the body condemned.

The Last Supper series presents photographs of re-created requested last meals of executed prisoners.

Celia A. Shapiro (Florianopolis , Brazil and New Rochelle, NY) studied sculpture at San Diego State University and California State University at Los Angeles . She received a BA in Design with video/communication emphasis from UCLA in 1975. Her series The Last Supper has been published in the numerous publications worldwide including Aperture, Mother Jones, Der Spiegel, Photo Italia, The Observer Food Monthly, Le Matin, VG, De Telegraaf, Libertation, D Magazine, and La Presse. Her photographic and video art pieces have been exhibited internationally including shows at the Hara Museum of Contemporary Art (Japan), the Kunsthaus (Switzerland), the American Center (Paris) and throughout the US including shows at the Museum of Modern Art, The Whitney Museum of Art, the Los Angeles Center for Contemporary Art, SF Camerawork, the Houston Center for Photography, and broadcasted on WNET/Thirteen; the Learning Channel, and ZDF German television. She has received numerous awards including ones from NYFA, the Television Laboratory at WNET/Thirteen; Creative Artists Program Service, Art Matters Inc., the Experimental Television Center; and the Polaroid Corporation.