The US Department of Defence declares all art made at Guantanamo Bay is state property

5 December 2017
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Muhammad Ansi, Hand Holding Red Flowers (2015), colour photocopy of original and reverse, showing stamps indicating approval for release from Guantánamo Muhammad Ansi

The Art Newspaper has reported that the US Department of Defence has forbidden all artwork made at Guantanamo Bay from leaving the prison and that work created at facility art classes belongs to the US government.

The ruling is a response to a New York-based exhibition Ode to the Sea, which contains 36 works of art by current and former detainees of the Cuba-based prison. The Art Newspaper reported that the artworks come from lawyers who were sent them as gifts or to keep safe.

Art classes were set up at the prison in 2008 during Obama’s administration. Now, however, the 41 inmates will no longer be able to access the work they produce at the classes.

Ode to the Sea remains on show at the John Jay College of Criminal Justice in New York until 26 January 2018.


Djamel Ameziane, Interior (2010) Djamel Ameziane


Ghaleb Al-Bihani, Blue Mosque Reflected in a River (2016), made after a terror attack in Istanbul near the Blue Mosque Ghaleb Al-Bihani

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About the Author

Bryony Stone

Bryony joined It's Nice That as Deputy Editor in August 2016, following roles at Mother, Secret Cinema, LAW, Rollacoaster and Wonderland. She later became Acting Editor at It's Nice That, before leaving in late 2018.

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