In 1985 Ndume Olatushani was convicted of the murder of a grocer in Memphis, Tennessee. His palm print was found in the getaway car and witnesses identified him as the murderer. In fact, at the time of the crime, Olatushani was 300 miles away and he had never set foot in the state of Tennessee.
Olatushani spent nearly 27 years in prison and most of that time he was on death row. While in prison, he took up painting. “Through my artwork, I lived outside of prison and didn’t paint my surroundings, but instead the people outside the prison walls I would like to meet.”
In 2004, it was revealed that police reports had shown that Olatushani could not have fired the fatal shot so his sentence was reduced. His conviction was later overturned when it showed that witnesses had accused Olatushani of the crime to deflect suspicion from their associates. In 2012, he was released from prison.
Olatushani now lives in Nashville. An exhibition of his paintings is being held from February 28 to April 11 at the Avon Williams Campus Library at Tennessee State University.