Remaking the Exceptional: Tea, Torture, and Reparations | Chicago to Guantánamo

Thursday, Mar 10 – Aug 7, 2022

935 W Fullerton Ave.
Chicago, IL 60614

DePaul Art Museum’s exhibition “Remaking the Exceptional: Tea, Torture, and Reparations | Chicago to Guantánamo” marks 20 years since the opening of the United States’ extralegal prison in Guantánamo Bay, Cuba, by examining the local and international ramifications of state violence. The exhibition and associated publication, published by the museum, uplift acts of creative resistance while highlighting connections between policing and incarceration in Chicago and the human rights violations of the “Global War on Terror.”

The exhibition will feature paintings, drawings, sculptures and installations produced by torture survivors, artists, activists and collectives. Contributors to the exhibition include Abdualmalik Abud, Mansoor Adayfi, Djamel Ameziane, Muhammad Ansi, Ghaleb Al-Bihani, Dorothy Burge, Chicago Torture Justice Memorials, Debi Cornwall, Amber Ginsburg, Assad “Haroon” Gul, Mashaun Hendricks, Aaron Hughes, Invisible Institute, Damon Locks, Lucky Pierre, Trevor Paglen, Prison + Neighborhood Arts/Education Project, Khalid Qasim, Sabri Mohammad Ibrahim Al Qurashi, Ahmed Badr Rabbani, and Sarah-Ji Rhee.

Occupying all of the museum’s galleries, “Remaking the Exceptional” is organized by DePaul Art Museum staff and is curated by contributing artists Amber Ginsburg and Aaron Hughes. “The Tea Project,” which informs the development of the exhibition and the accompany publication, is an ongoing series of installations and performances that create opportunities to engage with local and global histories of war, torture and confinement. In the project, tea serves not only as a contradictory metaphor for imperialism and settler colonialism, but also as a ritual of human connection and international solidarity.
“Remaking the Exceptional” is accompanied by a fully illustrated exhibition catalogue that brings together artworks, poetry and testimony by torture survivors from Chicago and abroad, as well as new texts by leading scholars working at the intersection of aesthetics and politics.

Ahead of the exhibition, an online conversation is scheduled for Jan. 8, 2022, which will observe the 20th year of Guantánamo as an extra-legal prison and the seventh year since Chicago’s passage of the Jon Burge reparations ordinance, the first and only ordinance of its kind in the U.S. Panelists include Aislinn Pulley (Chicago Torture Justice Center), Kilroy Watkins (Chicago torture survivor), Mansoor Adayfi (Guantánamo torture survivor and author of “Don’t Forget Us Here”). Joey L. Mogul (People’s Law Office) will moderate the panel.

Other public programs in conjunction with the exhibition include a poetry reading and stories of resistance by survivors, a workshop by Chicago artist/activist Monica Trinidad on how to produce artwork in collaboration with organizations and activists, a performance by Damon Locks and Martine Whitehead from Prison + Neighborhood Arts/Education Project  (PNAP), and a quilting workshop with artist Dorothy Burge. Dates and details will be forthcoming on the museum’s website.