Photographer Debi Cornwall's exhibition at Philadelphia Photo Arts unpacks the strange psychology and human experience of Guantanamo Bay through residential and leisure spaces and gift-shop souvenirs.
With the constant turmoil in the world today, one facet of American life that’s largely slipped from view is the United States government's continued imprisonment of people without access to legal counsel, the opportunity to defend themselves at trial, and have often tortured them for over a decade. President Obama pledged to close Guantanamo Bay during his first run, and ten years later, despite our stated withdrawal from Iraq, it still stands. It’s no longer at the level of moral outrage because we’ve allowed ourselves to ignore it. Just as we accept that Flint, Michigan, hasn’t had clean water for four years, we accept that America tortures and harms potentially innocent people in our name.
It was almost serendipitous – the day I went to see Debi Cornwall’s documentary photography show “Welcome to Camp America” at the Philadelphia Photo Arts Center, I’d just read an op-ed in the Los Angeles Times from Ahmed Rabbani, a detainee at Guantanamo Bay who has been held without trial for fourteen years.
Exhibition review by Deborah Krieger