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fotografie
Debi Cornwall: Welcome to Camp America: Inside Guantánamo Bay
OPENING RESCHEDULED to November 2021

Recreation Pen, Camp Echo, Guantánamo Bay (c) Debi Cornwall
Recreation Pen, Camp Echo, Guantánamo Bay
Photo: Debi Cornwall
With ‘Welcome to Camp America: Inside Guantánamo Bay’, Stadthaus Ulm presents photographs exploring one of the most infamous locations in recent American history: the US naval base in Guantánamo Bay on Cuba that gained international attention in 2002, when the military established a prison camp as part of their ‘war on terror’ campaign. Images of orange-clad prisoners, holding out in chain-link cages in the blistering sun were seen around the world and, along with reports of torture, caused international criticism and discussions about the state of human rights on location. Despite the broad media coverage, interest for the conditions of the now 40 remaining prisoners quickly faded.

Smoke Break, Camp America, Cuba 2014. (c) Debi Cornwal
Smoke Break, Camp America, Cuba 2014
Photo: Debi Cornwall

Public opinion of the current situation is largely based on vague ideas, and in the light of an increasing number of terror attacks in Europe, critics seem to have fallen silent.

‘Welcome to Camp America’ presents photos by American photographer and former civil rights lawyer Debi Cornwall (*1973). She explores the personal experience at ‘Gitmo’ from different vantage points, including the perspective of prisoners, guards and former inmates who have been released and where brought home or deported to a third-party country.

Comfort Items, Camp 5, US Marinestützpunkt Guantánamo Bay, Cuba 2015. (c) Debi Cornwall
Comfort Items, Camp 5, US Marinestützpunkt Guantánamo Bay, Cuba 2015
Photo: Debi Cornwall

In her conceptual-documental photographs, Debi Cornwall investigates this extreme situation of human existence, merging empathy with systemic criticism. Her pictures avoid stereotypic views and enable the observer to actively engage with the complex story, the nuanced truth and the discrepancies of this special place, and to ponder the universal questions of justice, individual rights, security and humanity.

Murat, Turkish German (Germany); Refugee Counselor; Held: 4 years, 7 months, 22 days; Released: August 24, 2006; Charges: never filed. (c) Debi Cornwall
Murat, Turkish German (Germany); Refugee Counselor; Held: 4 years, 7 months, 22 days; Released: August 24, 2006; Charges: never filed.
Photo: Debi Cornwall

After a twelve-year long career as civil rights lawyer, Debi Cornwall went back to photography and art in 2014. Basing her work on extensive research, she uses photography, video, archival material and contemporary witness reports to create installations of both empathy and criticism. The exhibition in Ulm will be her first in Germany. Cooperation with photography museums in Charleroi/Belgium are already agreed on or planned (Netherlands).

 

Project management: Daniela Baumann