An art exhibit in downtown Manhattan began displaying artwork by 9/11 conspirators and Guantanamo Bay inmates Monday, with the hope of making the American public more sympathetic toward Guantanamo detainees.
The John Jay College Of Criminal Justice’s “Ode To The Sea” exhibit showcases more than 30 works created by current and former Guantanamo inmates in an attempt to show how the military prison “harms detainees,” according to the exhibit description. The college is also taking offers for artwork created by former inmates, and proceeds from any sales will go directly to those artists, exhibit curator and art crime professor Erin Thompson told The Daily Caller News Foundation.
The college’s catalogue introduces the exhibit with somber tones.
“Detainees at the United States military prison camp known as Guantánamo Bay have made art from the time they arrived,” the description reads. “The exhibit will display some of these evocative works, made by men held without trial, some for nearly 15 years, who paint the sea again and again although they cannot reach it.”
The exhibit displays work from four current inmates: Moath Hamza Ahmed al Alwi, who was an al Qaeda member and an Osama Bin Laden bodyguard; Ammar Al-Bluchi, a 9/11 organizer and nephew of 9/11 mastermind Khalid Sheikh Mohammed (KSM); Ahmed Rabbani, an al Qaeda member who also worked closely with KSM; and Khaled Qasim, who actively fought U.S. forces in the Middle East as a member of al Qaeda.
The exhibit also features artwork from four former inmates, who stand to receive proceeds if their artwork is sold.
“The only artworks for sale are those made by former detainees who have been cleared by military tribunals as being not a threat to the United States and who have been released from Guantanamo,” Thompson told TheDCNF. “100% of the sales price, if any of their art is sold, will go to the artists.”
“When I start an artwork, I forget I am in prison,” Al-Alwi told his lawyer, according to the Guardian. “Despite being in prison, I try as much as I can to get my soul out of prison. I live a different life when I am making art.”
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