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The art of Guantanamo's prisoners faces the Pentagon

An exhibition of works by the inmates at a new York university motivates the U.S. government to prevent more prison pieces from coming out

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The art of Guantanamo's prisoners faces the Pentagon
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The Yemeni Muhammad Ansi learned to paint during nearly 15 years he was held at Guantánamo prison in Cuba. There he created, a year before being delivered to Oman, a painting in which you see Statue of Liberty Risinged by an intense blue sea. Their art, as explained by those responsible that in new York expose ir work, usually represents cities seen from distance, roads without beginning or end and empty boats lost in sea.

He is one of eight men who were in infamous American prison without trial and who expose his work. "They paint sea over and over again without being able to reach it," show curators of exhibition, which opened last October and will be open to public until 26th of January in gallery of Presidents in John Jay College of Criminal Justice.

The sample is surrounded by controversy. The Pentagon insists that items produced by detainees at Guantánamo are property of United States Government. And in order to a new rule, it is included in works of art. The organizers of exhibition have disseminated a petition to protest this policy of Department of Defense, which envisages to burn previous works.

Like everything in Guantánamo, creative process is heavily guarded. The prisoners were able to preserve works thanks to efforts of ir lawyers, because y are not considered a threat. The organization of sample, however, came to revise rules for protests by relatives of victims of 11-S attacks. These limitations, according to curators, are a clear censure.

"Burning art is something that fascist regimes and terrorists do, not American people," denounce organizers. "It's incredibly cruel." The shipments of works of art made by detainees are at this time suspended, according to a note issued by Anne Leanos, of Navy. During hunger strike starring prisoners in 2013, y were already requisitioned ir work.

In total, 36 paintings and sculptures are exposed. Works of art are created from images imagined by inmates, based on photographs or sequences of films. One of Muhammad Ansi's paintings depicts Titanic. He remembered it because he saw film during interrogations. He also tried to represent his family, which in anor work shows red flowers grabbed by a hand.

Moath Al-Alwi, anor of liberated prisoners, equally of Yemeni origin, also painted, but in his case exhibition shows models of very elaborate scale boats, in which he used remains of materials. He conceived m as gifts to his family and lawyers. The sea is also a constant on canvases of Ammar Al-Baluchi. With his work he seeks to capture physical effects of torture.

Art was also an escape route for Khalid Qasim and, like rest of inmates, he had to experiment with materials he had at hand. His paintings are made on canvases of sand and albero that he took from wilderness where he exercised. Again, Titanic is protagonist. Algerian Djamel Ameziane represents his experience at Guantánamo with a tempest-ridden ship. The exhibition has already been visited by some 10,000 people. Access is free and those interested in buying jobs can buy m if authors are released.

There are currently 41 detainees at Guantánamo Bay. As petition for signatures points out, Pentagon's new policy will have drastic effects, as it will deprive m of "ability to create beauty and communicate with outside world."


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