Artist Contemplating Torture

Artist Contemplating Torture

Medium: Multimedia performance/installation

Dimensions: Variable

Date: 2008 – 2009


• Atrium, Cosby Building, Spelman College, Atlanta, GA

• Castle of Good Hope, Cape Town, South Africa

• Las Orquideas Environmental Sculpture Park, Portobelo, Panama

Description: This performance art ritual was initially conceived as a protest

statement against the imprisonment of Nelson Mandela during the apartheid era in

South Africa under the title Artist Contemplating the Fate of Those Who Speak of

Freedom. It was first presented in New York City as part of a Plexus Art Co-
Opera in 1986 at CUANDO in the Lower East Side and later that year at

Kenkeleba Gallery also in the Lower East Side. The following year the work

was recreated for Franklin Furnace aboard the Staten Island Ferry and then at

Fashion Moda in the Bronx. In each performance an artist sat bound and gagged

in front of an “altar” installation. Polaroid photos of these artists were taken and

placed on the “altar.”

The work has now been redesigned with a new title – Artist Contemplating

Torture as a protest statement against the torture of innocent people worldwide.

The names of tortured victims were gathered from Amnesty International, as

well as from personal memories and experiences of the participants.

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