My work uses graphic, unexpected imagery to investigate the human impact of Guantánamo Bay. What does daily life look like in a place where nobody has chosen to live, where photographs of faces are forbidden? Empty “home” and “play” spaces of both prisoners and guards at the U.S. Naval Station...
My work uses graphic, unexpected imagery to investigate the human impact of Guantánamo Bay. What does daily life look like in a place where nobody has chosen to live, where photographs of faces are forbidden? Empty “home” and “play” spaces of both prisoners and guards at the U.S. Naval Station in “Gitmo” offer a glimpse. These are juxtaposed with photographs of men once held there as accused terrorists, after they have been cleared and released. Drawing on my 12-year experience as a civil rights lawyer for innocent exonerees, I collaborated with 14 released men in 9 countries (from Albania to Qatar) to find apt locations for photos reflecting their experiences of disorientation and isolation as they rebuild their lives, many in third countries where they do not speak the language. Each environmental portrait replicates, in the free world, the military’s “no faces” rule: their bodies may be free, but the trauma remains. Guantánamo will always mark them. Additional captions note the number of years, months and days each man was held; dates cleared and released; and whether charges were ever filed. As Gitmo impacts those on both sides of the wire, the series also includes an environmental portrait of an army veteran and former guard who converted to Islam while deployed.
This conceptual documentary project will be published in March 2017 as a photo book that creates layers of meaning through multiple elements, including the submitted work, photographs of Gitmo gift-shop souvenirs, government documents, and first-person texts. The book’s release will coincide with the opening of the first solo show of the completed body of work, at Geneva’s Centre de la Photographie. My goal is to tour the exhibition across the United States and Europe, using artist’s lectures to spark a new discussion about our ideals, our actions and our common humanity, both at Gitmo and across the West as we grapple with the "War on Terror." A Blue Sky show would be an ideal start to a U.S. tour.
Prayer Rug with Arrow to Mecca, Camp Echo
Sami, Sudanese (Qatar).
Anonymous, Chinese Uighur (Albania)
Liberty Center Band Room
Murat, Turkish German (Germany)
Mamdouh, Egyptian Australian (Egypt)
Recreation Pen, Camp Echo
Hussein, Yemeni, at Midday Prayer (Slovakia)