‘Art From Guantanamo Bay’ at John Jay

A model ship by Moath al-Alwi

In a story for News India Times, Sujeet Rajan takes readers through an exhibit at John Jay College of Criminal Justice that displays the artwork of current and former Guantanamo Bay detainees. It is on view through Jan. 26, 2018.

In describing “Ode to the Sea: Art from Guantanamo Bay” he writes:

It’s an eerie feeling, to gaze at innocuous looking paintings of landscapes and buildings, of boats in water, knowing that they were produced by some of the most notorious detainees on Earth, etched and painted with grim determination, sometimes shackled in a cell, in Guantanamo Bay, in solitary confinement, for plotting to kill innocent people around the world.

Rajah goes on to mention what went into producing the art, and the controversy surrounding such works.

In all, the exhibition – which has generated controversy in recent days after the US government decided that in the future no artwork by detainees of Guantanamo Bay will be allowed for resale and will be the property of the government – displays 36 works, paintings and sculptures made by eight terrorists, some for nearly 15 years. Only two of the works have been on display before.

The exhibit includes works like model ships crafted from materials permitted to detainees, including parts of shirts, prayer caps, razors, and mops.

The works are the result of clandestine art as well as art classes provided by a Joint Task Force Guantanamo instructor.

For more on the exhibit, including the significance of using the sea as its theme, as well as a separate show that intertwines African and South Asian art on view at the Aicon Gallery, go to News India Times.

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