It is rare that photographic images can find a very new approach to vital human issues.
The issues of Guantánamo strike at the very core of what the United States purports to be and how it positions itself to the world and to its own citizens.
Pictures From Home. Questions of Justice. not only approaches the issues of Guantánamo in very unexpected ways, but it also shows how photographic images assume roles that are quite apart from their original intentions. In going beyond their intended function, they bring about new ways of ‘seeing’.
In this case, the central creative act is in ‘seeing’ that possibility. From images that, for the most part, were taken for intra-professional reasons, to enable attorneys to establish real working relationships with their clients, these photographs become a voice for four worlds – that of the detainees, their families in the Middle East and Afghanistan, the lawyers, and the prison itself. The images bring about the simultaneity of connections that overcome the physical barriers of separation and confinement.
Although the photographs are the catalyst for this work, they couldn’t convey the richness of meaning that they do in this exhibition without the information provided by the lawyers’ narratives, the video interviews, and the audio installation taking us inside Guantánamo itself. This multiple layering of experience, re-lived through the voices and the pictures, is the antithesis of the monochromatic image of Guantánamo that the government allows us to see. Beyond the individual stories and their human faces, the exhibition itself becomes a challenge to the concept of indefinite detention.
We thank the artists and creators of this project, the lawyers who are doing habeas corpus work at Guantánamo, and the exhibit’s sponsors who see the need for another way of ‘seeing’.