Abdualmalik Abud

Abdualmalik (Alrahabi) Abud, originally from Yemen, was detained at Guantánamo for almost 15 years before being released to Montenegro in 2016. He began creating art during his last years at Guantánamo. Whenever he thought of his wife and daughter, he would begin to draw in order to forget that he was imprisoned. He frequently drew the complex architecture of Sana’a, Yemen. 

Adbulmalik told curators, “what I want people to know when they look at my art is that we are humans, we have feelings and emotions, we love life, and we are not like they pictured us.” 

Ammar Al-Baluchi

Ammar Al-Baluchi, originally from Kuwait, was held by the CIA for three and a half years before arriving at Guantánamo, where he has been a “high value detainee” for ten years. He is currently held at Guantánamo’s Camp 7, where security is even tighter than at the main camp. There, art-making is not officially sanctioned and detainees have only sporadic access to art supplies. The simple existence of this work is remarkable.

Ironically, while Al-Baluchi has little ability to make art of his own, he is another artist’s (unwilling) subject: a character named “Ammar,” who is shown being tortured in the 2012 film Zero Dark Thirty is based on information about Al-Baluchi given by the CIA to the filmmakers, but not to him or his lawyers.

Ahmed Rabbani

Ahmed Rabbani, a citizen of Pakistan, has been held at Guantánamo for nearly 13 years. Detained and tortured by the CIA before arriving at Guantánamo, Rabbani has protested by undertaking years-long hunger strikes, resulting in daily violent force-feeding. Pain lies just under the surface of many works by Rabbani, who signs his paintings with his nickname, Badr.

Djamel Ameziane

Djamel Ameziane was born in Algeria but fled as a refugee. He arrived at Guantánamo in 2002. Although he was cleared for release in 2008, he was held for five more years, during which time he created most of his art. His lawyers fought against him being returned to Algeria, but he was eventually transferred there in 2013.  

Ghaleb Al-Bihani

Ghaleb Al-Bihani, a Yemeni citizen, was detained at Guantánamo for nearly 15 years before being released to Oman in January 2017. Ghaleb, who discovered a talent for art in routine classes offered to detainees, once wrote, “Painting makes me feel as if I am embracing the universe….I also see things around me as if they were paintings, which gives me the sense of a beautiful life.” Most of his paintings and drawings were created after 2014, when he was cleared for release, and sometimes depict his musings on what his life would look like when that release finally came.

Khalid Qasim

Khalid Qasim, originally from Yemen, has been detained at Guantánamo for over 15 years. He signs his works with his work with his prisoner number, 242.

Moath Al-Alwi

Moath Al-Alwi has been held at Guantánamo since 2002. Not satisfied with the limited art supplies permitted to detainees, he seeks out other materials to create his elaborate model ships, including cardboard, old t-shirts stiffened with glue, and bottlecaps. 

While working on these vessels, Al-Alwi told his lawyers he imagines himself in the middle of the ocean.

Muhammad Ansi

Muhammad Ansi, originally from Yemen, was transferred to Oman in January 2017 after being detained at Guantánamo for almost 15 years.