Guantánamo Public Memory Project

Companion projects for the traveling exhibit

Our traveling exhibit was launched at New York University in December, 2012. Since then it has been hosted by partner institutions across the country, and will continue traveling for the rest of the year and deep into 2014.

Originally produced by student teams at twelve universities, the exhibit schedule has now expanded beyond these founding institutions, as we seek to foster a genuinely national dialogue.

Every host venue brings its own unique vision and character to the exhibit. At UC Riverside, for example, our exhibit was incorporated into a larger exhibition entitled ‘Geographies of Detention.’

For the benefit of future host venues, we’ve compiled this list of additional resources that may be available to accompany our exhibit. Each of these projects brings a completely unique perspective to public memory work, sites of consciences and/or the history of Gitmo.

Memory Shards

“The responsibility of the scribe is to record people’s emotions, people’s questions, and people’s concerns.”

Arizona Artist Joan Baron took the words and ideas of other project collaborators, inscribed these onto shards of pottery, and hung these on a chainlink fence. These ‘memory shards’ created a mosaic of impressions of Guantánamo. Baron’s art accompanied our traveling exhibit during its residency in Arizona.


“An attempt to merge individual stories of exile, present within the history of Cuban Diaspora, into a shared experience.”

Aurora de Armendi was detained at GTMO with other Cubans in the 90s. In EntreVistas she uses filmed interviews with Cuban immigrants and images of the ocean to evoke the difficulties of exile, of shifting notions of home, and of the myth of return.

Gone Gitmo

“In the face of a real but inaccessible destination, we felt that Second Life offered us the chance to build an accessible, albeit virtual version.”

Artists Nonny de la Peña and Peggy Weil have created an digital installation of the prison facilities at Guantánamo Bay by using the virtual world of Second Life. This installation allows visitors to explore various facilities at GTMO, such as Camp X-Ray, and to view archival resources, including footage and documents.

You can learn more about the project, and view a sample installation diagram, at the Gone Gitmo blog.

If the Light Goes Out

“This is a study of home, of a very particular idea of home at a very particular time in our history, and the lives of people whose paths crossed on 45 square miles of Cuba, cut off from the rest of the world by razor wire and water.”

Edmund Clark’s project uses photography to look at the homes people make both while on the base at Guantánamo, and after they leave. His sparse compositions capture the daily lives of members of the military, detainees, and visitors to the base.

Sites of Conscience art show

“I’ve chosen to depict buildings in which people were forced to reside. Concentration camps, Ellis Island dorms, slave quarters, and African-American sites from our Jim Crow past… A friend who is also a historian told me that many of my images are sites of conscience.”

Sherry Zvares Sanabria captures the empty, seemingly forgotten spaces of many different sites of conscience. Her compositions are a way of remembering those who have passed through such places.

Walking to Guantánamo

“I started to meet Cubans,  and when I did I was introduced to all kinds of food, music, poetry and religion I knew almost nothing about. These are the experiences this book is about.”

Richard Fleming’s 1,000 mile journey across Cuba, from west to east, involved walking, cycling, hitch-hiking and riding in tractors. His project documents the people and places that he encountered along the way, and concludes with a picnic at Guantánamo Bay.


Creative: Picture Projects & Tronvig Group