Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Poster of the Week

E. Galeano Has Seen This Before--
The Hooded Prisoners Recognize Each Other by their Coughs

Dara Greenwald (1972-2012)
Stencil 2005
New York, New York

CSPG’s Poster of the Week is by Dara Greenwald, who died this week at age 40 after a long battle with cancer. Dara was an artist, activist, curator, and a member of the Just Seeds’ Artists Cooperative founded by her partner, Josh MacPhee. Dara and Josh were co-curators of Signs of Change: Social Movement Cultures, 1960s to Now, a traveling political poster exhibition and co-editors of the accompanying book. Dara was also a PhD Candidate in the Electronic Art Department at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute.

Dara and Josh visited the Center for the Study of Political Graphics while they were researching Paper Politics: An International Exhibition of Socially-Engaged Printmaking that traveled from New York to Oregon from 2008 to 2010. In reviewing Paper Politics, the Pittsburgh City Paper called Dara’s stencil “one of the exhibit's best works …with just a few dozen block letters, Greenwald summons the complex horror of such injustices [as extrajudicial detention].”

Eduardo Galeano is an Uruguayan journalist, author and novelist, who experienced the brutal military regimes in Uruguay and Argentina, was imprisoned and lived in exiled for many years. The title of Dara’s poster, “The hooded prisoners recognize one another by their coughs” comes from Galeano’s second novel, Dı́as y noches de amor y de guerra /Days and Nights of Love and War (1978). She used it in this poster to evoke many incidents of torture in prisons, but specifically refers to the U.S. military detention camp at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.

As this week marks the 10th anniversary of the U.S. military detention camp at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, Dara’s striking poster is even more poignant. The Cuban camp has held 779 foreign captives, and 171 remain. The prison was set up to hold and interrogate detainees suspected of links to al Qaeda, the Taliban and other groups classified by the United States as terrorist organizations.

To mark the 10th anniversary, human rights protesters dressed in orange prison-style jumpsuits and covering their heads with black bags marched past the White House on Wednesday, January 11. Protests were also planned for Miami, Boston, San Francisco, Chicago, Los Angeles, Paris, Toronto, Madrid, Berlin, London, Brussels and other cities. The same day, detainees at the U.S. military base at Guantánamo Bay also launched a hunger strike, inspired in part by U.S. activists who have called for a national day of action.

Protesters voiced anger with Obama’s failure to close the prison—which he promised to do during his 2008 presidential campaign—and with his approval last month of the National Defense Authorization Act, which codified the U.S. government's authority to detain prisoners, including U.S. citizens, indefinitely without trial.

¡Dara Greenwald PRESENTE!

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