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Guantanamo If the Light Goes Out: Photo exhibit exploring home and power to open Feb. 7 in Gage Gallery

Posted: 01/15/2013

Guantanamo: If the Light Goes Out, an exhibit exploring ideas about home and power through documentary and fine art images by award-winning British photographer Edmund Clark opens for the first time in the United States on Feb. 7 at Roosevelt University’s Gage Gallery.

Featuring shifting notions about home and power for detainees, soldiers and staff, as well as those released from the Guantanamo Bay detention facility in Cuba, the exhibit includes 35 photos taken by Clark shortly after Barack Obama became president in 2009.

The winner of the 2011 Royal Photographic Society Hood Medal and a finalist in this year’s Prix Pictet, Clark will be on hand to discuss the photographs that capture spaces rather than people as well as the exhibit’s collection of correspondence called "Letters to Omar" during an opening reception being held at 5 p.m. Feb. 7 at Gage Gallery, 18 S. Michigan Ave., Chicago.

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In this new traveling show, which is making its debut in Chicago, and runs through May 4 at Roosevelt’s Gage Gallery, the images by Clark capture what home is like for: Americans at the naval base at Guantanamo; detainees being held in Guantanamo’s camps; and former detainees now rebuilding their lives in Britain.

The exhibit captures disorientation and dislocation associated with the Guantanamo experience for those who have been demonized as among the worst of the worst, yet who live, sleep, eat and relax in very ordinary places.  “Part of what I was interested to see was how looking at (their home) spaces would re-humanize people who had been through that process of dehumanization,” Clark said in a recent interview with the online Photo District News (PDN).

A collection of cards and letters that were sent but were not received as originals by Omar Deghayes, a Guantanamo Bay detainee who became well known for his struggle for release, also are part of the exhibit.  These documents, which are color photocopies of the originals, include the redactions made by the U.S. military and speak to the control that was a part of life at Guantanamo.

The exhibit is free and open to the public.  It is co-sponsored by Roosevelt’s College of Arts and Sciences and the Joseph Loundy Center for Human Rights at Roosevelt University, and is made possible in part through the generosity of Susan B. Rubnitz. Gage Gallery hours are 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Mondays through Fridays and 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturdays.

For questions about the Gage Gallery exhibit, visit  www.roosevelt.edu/gagegallery and/or for more information on acquiring the traveling show, contact Michael Ensdorf at 312-341-6458 or  mensdorf@roosevelt.edu.

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