Featuring nearly 100 evocative works, “Art from Guantánamo Bay” features the artwork of six men detained at the United States military prison camp in Cuba for as long as 20 years without being charged or convicted of a crime, all of whom have been cleared for release — although two currently remain in detention.
The exhibition has a unique local connection because of the work several lawyers did on behalf of detainees. Artist- detainee Abdul Zahir was a client of St. Johnsbury attorneys Robert Gensburg and David Sleigh, who volunteered for over 10 years with the Guantánamo Bay Bar Association, a nationwide group of lawyers assembled by the Center for Constitutional Rights, a nonprofit civil liberties law firm providing legal representation for detainees.
Gensburg represented Zahir and helped him earn his freedom as a case of “mistaken identity” after 14 years of captivity; Zahir now lives with his family in Oman. The late Gensburg’s widow, Leslie, was the catalyst for this exhibition being on display at Catamount.
“The lovely watercolor he did was a tribute to Bob and David Sleigh. He depicted a sailboat, explaining that it shows Captain Bob and Captain Dave sailing him home,” she said.