12. Ode to the Sea: Art from Guantanamo at John Jay College

Moath al-Alwi, Model of a Ship, 2015. Image via Art From Guantánamo Bay by Erin Thompson

Ode to the Sea: Art from Guantanamo exhibits over thirty works — drawings, paintings, and three-dimensional pieces — created by current detainees at Guantanamo Bay military prison camp.

Although the exhibit focuses around the common theme of the ocean, many of the detainees had actually never seen the sea as heavy tarps cover all the fences. Materials were also limited, so sculptures were created from whatever they were given or could find, including pieces of shirts, prayer caps, razors, mops, and stones.

It was announced this week that the Department of Defense planned to seize and destroy the artwork. The tenuous future of the exhibit, which is yet to be determined, was recently addressed by the exhibit’s curator in an op-ed in the New York Times. A petition to stop the destruction of Art at Guantanamo has been circulating. Read more here.

Ode to the Sea: Art from Guantanamo will be on view through January 26, 2018 in the President’s Gallery of John Jay College of Criminal Justice, 899 Tenth Avenue at 59th Street, 6th floor. This is a free exhibit, open Monday – Friday from 1-4pm. Take a deeper dive into the works with the exhibit catalogue.