Reception/exhibition opening: Davis Library Gallery–Wednesday, Sept. 30th at 5:00
Artist talk: following at 5:45
From Christopher Sims’ artist statement:
In 2006 and 2010, I traveled by plane, ferry, and bus to the naval station and joint detention facility at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba.
On this small spit of land, on approximately 45 square miles held in perpetual lease by the U.S. military, actors from the world stage converge: American interrogators attempt to wrest information from Muslim “unlawful enemy combatants”; Jamaican and Filipino guest workers are imported by contractors to serve food, cut hair at the barbershop, and wash the laundry; and on the base’s residential streets that resemble an American suburb, a handful of Cuban families who fled Castro’s takeover of the island live out their days in exile. Against this backdrop, there are also strikingly mundane activities that take place: children go to school, guards pick up coffee at McDonald’s and Starbucks, and backyard barbeques are planned.
Restrictions by the military made making photographs of people at GTMO impractical, so I chose instead to photograph the environments that people create and inhabit rather than the people themselves, the stage sets rather than the players.
The Library at Camp Delta
The Library at Camp Delta is a site-specific installation and exhibition. Situated in Davis Library, the exhibition echoes the library location where the images were made at the U.S. Naval Station in Cuba. Visitors passing through the library exhibition space will encounter in a quiet way images that in part blend in naturally with the very shelves surrounding them on campus.
By focusing on the interior lives of those at Guantánamo Bay—the prisoners who read and watch materials from the library and who take drawing courses there, the professional librarians who carry out their duties in this remote facility, and the censors who black out parts of the library’s newspapers—the exhibition offers a unique viewpoint into the controversial and infamous prison camp.