Washington, DC – Gallery 102 presents The Tea Project with Ghaleb Al-Bihani & Djamel Ameziane January 8, 2017 through January 20, 2017, in collaboration with The Center for Constitutional Rights, Witness Against Torture and The National Coalition to Protect Civil Freedoms.
Chicago based artists Amber Ginsburg and Aaron Hughes work collaboratively to uncover moments of beauty, poetics and shared humanity within little known military histories. Taking as its starting point the curious love story of a Guantanamo Bay guard who fell in love with the drawings carved on Styrofoam cups by detainees, the Tea Project is an ongoing series of exhibitions and performances that offers counter-narratives to disrupt the numbing effects of war and detention.
At Gallery 102, in the company of the full installation of 779 porcelain tea cups, one for each individual that has been detained at Guantanamo, Ginsburg and Hughes will host events that allow audiences a role in telling the story of our current involvement in war and detention with a specific focus on the legal and human rights issues surrounding Guantanamo Bay Detention Camp, the Global War on Terror, and growing Islamophobia.
Alongside the Tea Project will be the works of Ghaleb Al-Bihani and Djamel Ameziane. Shown for the first time, on view will be a substantial collection of the more than 200 works by Ghalab, who has been detained without charge in Guantanamo since 2002 and cleared for transfer since 2014. Ghaleb, who discovered a talent for art in routine classes offered to detainees, told us, “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.” The Tea Project is also grateful to show three pieces of work by Djamel, an Algerian national who was detained without charge in Guantanamo from 2002 to 2013.
The opening reception and program, WORD FROM THE GRASSROOTS: Strengthening our Resistance to State Violence, offers a night of viewing, tea, poetry, and words from activists, veterans and legal advocates.Tea, served throughout the evening’s events, is not only a favored drink but a shared moment that transcends cultural divides and systems of oppression.
For more information visit www.tea-project.org or call Aaron Hughes 217-898-9083. All Events Are Free and Open to the Public. Schedule listed below.
Placing the 779 Teacups
Sunday, January 8, 2017 | Throughout the day
During their week long fast in solidarity with Guantanamo detainees, Witness Against Torture will place each cup in the installation, one for every individual detained in Guantanamo since 2001. Each teacup is carved with a design based on the national or native flower, one design for each of the forty-nine countries that has had a citizen detained in Guantanamo, together with the name a detainee.
Opening Reception and Program
WORDS FROM THE GRASSROOTS: Strengthening our Resistance to State Violence
A night of viewing, tea, poetry, and words from the movement
Tuesday, January 10, 2017 | 7pm-9:30pm
Join us for a night of tea, art, poetry, music, and words by artists, activists, and leaders in the movements to end state violence that is perpetuated through indefinite detention at Guantanamo, police violence in our communities, and the institutionalization of Islamophobia. Speakers will share stories of hope and learnings from the front lines of their work. Tea will be served throughout.
Limited to 100. RSVP: https://ccrjustice.org/wordsfromthegrassroots
Breaking of the Witness Against Torture Fast for the Anniversary of Guantanamo Detention Camp
Wednesday, January 11, 2016 | 8am - 10am
Join Witness Against Torture as they break their weeklong fast in solidarity with hunger strikers in Guantanamo.
SELECTED TEA PROJECT GUESTS & PARTNERS:
Aliya Hana Hussain and Baher Azmy who advocate for justice and accountability through litigation and advocacy at the Center for Constitutional Rights; James Yee is a former US Army Chaplain who served as the Muslim Chaplain at Guantanamo Bay and was arrested and imprisoned for 76 days during which time he was falsely accused of spying, espionage, and aiding the alleged Taliban and Al-Qaeda prisoners; Maha Hilal, the Executive Director of the National Coalition to Protect Civil Freedoms and is an Islamophobia consultant for the Team Baluchi Defense Team and supports research on institutional anti-Muslim bias in the legal system; Witness Against Torture formed in 2005 when 25 Americans went to Guantánamo Bay and attempted to visit the detention facility. They began to organize more broadly to shut down Guantánamo, end indefinite detention and torture and call out Islamophobia. During our demonstrations, we lift up the words of the detainees themselves, bringing them to public spaces they are not permitted to access; Peace Poets, a collective of artists that celebrate, examine and advocate for life through music and poetry. Their style emphasizes lyricism, rhythm and authenticity. We hail from the Bronx and have been rocking the mic since 2005; Warrior Writers, a community of military veterans, service members, artists, allies, and healers dedicated to creativity and wellness. Art making becomes the creative tool through which we understand and transcend experiences of trauma and emotional disruptions that are not easily identified but constantly felt; the Center for Constitutional Rights is dedicated to advancing and protecting the rights guaranteed by the U.S. Constitution and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. For over a decade, CCR has been at the forefront of the legal battle against indefinite detention and torture at Guantanamo, representing many current and former detainees; National Coalition to Protect Civil Freedoms educates the public about the erosion of civil and political freedoms in the society, and the abuses of prisoners within the U.S. criminal justice system especially after 9/11, and advocates for the preservation of those freedoms and defends those rights according to the U.S. Constitution, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and its related UN Conventions, and the Geneva Conventions.
ABOUT THE TEA PROJECT PROJECT:
Artists and Iraq War veteran Aaron Hughes originally developed the Tea Project after a return trip to Iraq, as a civilian, in 2009. It was during this trip he had tea prepared in the Iraqi tradition for the first time. After returning home, Aaron began hosting Tea Project performances in order to draw out guests' stories connected to living during the ongoing Global War on Terror while interlacing stories of his deployment to Kuwait and Iraq in 2003, his return trip in 2009, and the curious love stories of his friend Chris Arendt, a Guantanamo Detention Camp guard, who fell in love with drawings carved by detainees into Styrofoam cups.
In 2013, Aaron Hughes invited Amber Ginsburg to join in the Tea Project in order to cast 779 porcelain Styrofoam teacups, one for each individual held in extra-legal detention since 2001. Since then, Ginsburg and Hughes have worked collaboratively to expand the project and develop a multi-faceted forum to engage with individuals personal relationships to love, war, and detention. The Tea Project has been hosted across the United States and internationally by a variety of art and community spaces including: Border Free Center in Kabul, Haus der Kulturen der Welt in Berlin, Museum of Modern Art in New York, Sullivan Gallery in Chicago, The Lawrence Arts Center in Kansas, Ashkal Alwan in Beirut, Open Engagement in Portland, and many other incredible spaces.
Together with collaborators, Amber Ginsburg creates site-generated projects and social sculpture that insert historical scenarios into present day situations. Her background in craft orients her projects towards the continuities and ruptures in material, social, and utopic histories. She teaches in the Department of Visual Arts at the University of Chicago.
Her research-based multimedia installations have been shown in museums and galleries including: Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago; The Soap Factory, Minneapolis, MN; The Society for Contemporary Craft, Pittsburgh, PA; World Ceramic Biennale, Korea; KunstTREFFpunkt, Darmstadt, Germany; Artsonje, Seoul, Korea; Raid Projects, Los Angeles, CA and the Bristol Biennial, England.
Aaron Hughes is an artist, activist/organizer, teacher, and Iraq War veteran, whose work seeks out poetics, connections, and moments of beauty, in order to construct new languages and meanings out of personal and collective traumas. He uses these new languages and meanings to create projects that deconstruct systems of dehumanization and oppression.
He works with a variety of art, veteran, and activist organizations and projects including: Warrior Writers Project, Dirty Canteen, National Veterans Art Museum, Iraq Veterans Against the War, Justseeds Artists’ Cooperative, and Center for Artistic Activism. Additionally, he has shown his work throughout the United States and internationally in museums and galleries to include: Museum of Modern Art, New York, NY; Haus der Kulturen der Welt, Berlin, Germany; The Maruki Gallery, Tokyo, Japan; School of Visual Arts Museum, New York, NY; Open Engagement, Portland, OR; Ashkal Alwan, Beirut, Lebanon; Craft and Folk Art Museum, Los Angeles, CA; The Milwaukee Art Museum, Milwaukee, WI; among other locations. He is currently a recipient of The Claire Rosen and Samuel Edes Foundation Prize for Emerging Artists which is supporting his work on the Tea Project.