The Art work of Guantánamo Detainees


When Moath al-Alwi discovered himself in a windowless metal cell in Guantánamo’s Camp 6, he requested his guards for scraps of cardboard. After experiencing years of interrogation and torture, “low-value” detainees like al-Alwi have been permitted by authorities throughout the Obama administration to create artwork. As the previous detainee Mansoor Adayfi describes in his 2021 memoir Don’t Overlook Us Right here, al-Alwi long-established the cardboard right into a window body and hung it on his cell wall. He painted it with a view east to Mecca, with “the solar rising over an enormous blue sea.”

In 2017, I curated an exhibition of art work given by al-Alwi and different detainees to their legal professionals, a few of which is reproduced right here. Camp authorities reacted by banning any extra artwork from leaving Guantánamo. Al-Alwi, who has spent greater than 20 years at Guantánamo with out ever being charged with against the law, was cleared for launch in January 2022. However he has advised his lawyer that he would relatively his art work be launched than himself, “as a result of so far as I’m involved, I’m finished, my life and my goals are shattered. But when my art work is launched, will probably be the only witness for posterity.”

—Erin L. Thompson



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