The Broomstick Was Metal, 2008, Gouache on Nishinoushi paper, 26 x 38 inches

January 15 – March 13, 2011

Bearing Witness: Daniel Heyman featured portraits of individuals who have endured great personal hardship – former Abu Ghraib detainees, African American fathers who have been in and out of jail, and new immigrants to the United States. Heyman incorporates the subject's own words into his compositions. Robin Wagner-Pacifici writes, "in doing so, [Heyman's] portraits restore dignity and individuality to those who have been deprived of their most basic human rights."

Daniel Heyman is a painter and a printmaker and a very good listener. He had the rare opportunity to accompany human rights lawyers to Amman and Istanbul between 2005 and 2008 to sit in on interviews with dozens of former Abu Ghraib Prison detainees. While the men opened up about the atrocities they had suffered, Heyman drew their portraits and interwove excerpts of their testimony onto engraving plates or sheets of paper. He worked quickly expressly making sure to complete the portraits by the end of the interview sessions. Their lives had been so damaged and their words had been so twisted at the hands of others, that Heyman wanted to give as direct a translation as possible. Susan Burke, the attorney who invited Heyman to be a part of these interviews, had the incredible foresight to understand the power of art to disseminate these men's horrific stories. Heyman had the artistic sensitivity to convey their experiences with great respect.

Other gouaches and prints in the exhibition explore the Iraqi war and the United States' war on terrorism from different perspectives. A large scale (10 x 12 foot) etching on ply-wood entitled When Photographers Are Blinded, Eagles' Wings Are Clipped (2009-10) examines our limited access to images and news of what is happening in Iraq, Afghanistan, and other parts of the world. A portrait of a young, retired Marine who was stationed at Guantanamo gives insight into the high toll that war takes on the lives of soldiers.

Closer to home, Heyman used the same artistic process in Philadelphia when he painted portraits in 2008 and 2009 of another group of individuals who have had little opportunity to tell their stories. He met seven poor, recently incarcerated African American fathers who were making a great effort to turn their lives around. Heyman wrote, "I was impressed by the honesty with which they shared their thoughts and their life stories." What began for him as a limited commission for a one-day "Philly Fathers" exhibition three years ago has grown to a seven portrait series of fractured, but healing, urban lives.

Hot off the press is a new series of lithographs that Heyman created at North Dakota University. This series of portraits with words focuses on recent immigrants to the United States and the struggles they endured in their former countries and here in the U.S.. Osob, a woman from Somalia, walked from Mogadishu to Kenya with her family; her father was kidnapped by partisan militias along the way. When she arrived in Texas, she suffered further abuse getting beat up everyday on her way to school. She and her family eventually moved to Minnesota where they found a more welcoming community of other Somalis.

Images

Top-left to bottom-right:

  • For Four or Five Hours, from the Istanbul portfolio, 2006, Drypoint and chine collé, 23.5 x 28.5 inches (framed)
  • The Broomstick Was Metal, 2008, Gouache on Nishinoushi paper, 26 x 38 inches
  • Ibrahim Helalsah [translator for Istanbul interviews], 2008, Gouache on Nishinoushi paper, 26 x 38 inches
  • Robert Ali Childs, from the Philadelphia Fathers series, 2008, Gouache on Nishinoushi paper, 24 x 30 inches
  • Osob, He Found US in Minnesota, 2007, Lithograph, 22 x 30 inches
  • Terrance from the Philadelphia Fathers series, 2008, Gouache on Nishinoushi paper, 24 x 30 inches
  • I Did Not Have a Beard, 2008, Gouache on Nishinoushi paper, 26 x 38 inches
  • Disco Mosul from the Amman portfolio, 2006, Drypoint, 27 x 22 inches

Related Events

Opening Reception and Reading by Nick Flynn

Thursday January 20 4-6:30pm

An illustrated publication accompanies the exhibition and features essays by Daniel Heyman, Robin Wagner-Pacifici, Professor of Sociology at Swarthmore College, playwright Kathleen Tolan, and Ibrahim Helalsah, translator for the Istanbul interviews. It also includes poetry by Nick Flynn.

The exhibition was co-organized by the Laband Art Gallery, Loyola Marymount University, and the Linfield Gallery, Linfield College. Carolyn Peter, director and curator of the Laband Art Gallery and Cris Moss, director and curator of the Linfield Gallery, Linfield College co-curated the exhibition. Earlier versions of the exhibition were presented at the Zilkha Gallery at Wesleyan University and the List Gallery, Swarthmore College.

The exhibition and the related programs have been made possible in part by the generous support of the College of Communication and Fine Arts, LMU's English Department, The Truth About the Fact International Journal of Literary Nonfiction, the William H. Hannon Library, LMU's Creative Writing Program, LMU's Department of Art and Art History, and the Los Angeles Printmaking Society.

Bearing Witness: Daniel Heyman Public Programs

Exploring Legal Issues in Daniel Heyman's Art #1

Torture in the Time of War – Legal Remedies and Ramifications
Thursday, January 13, noon-1p.m., Loyola Law School, Robinson Courtroom

In conjunction with exhibition Bearing Witness: Daniel Heyman, this series of discussions with Loyola Law School professors, LMU professors, practicing attorneys, artists, and other experts will explore the complexities of the legal issues addressed in Daniel Heyman's art work – Civil and Criminal Legal Issues in time of war, Legal Issues and Challenges in American Prisons, and Immigration Law. Laband Art Gallery Director and Curator Carolyn Peter will introduce Heyman's art as a take-off point for each of the talks. These events will take place at Loyola Law School and the Laband Art Gallery. These programs are co-presented by the Laband Art Gallery, Loyola Law School, and Loyola Law School's International Law Society.

In the first event of the series, panelists Loyola Law School Professor David Glazier and former human rights lawyer Rosemary Healy will discuss the possible criminal and civil remedies that can be pursued in instances such as the abuses that took place at Abu Ghraib Prison. Laband Art Gallery Director and Curator Carolyn Peter will introduce Heyman's portraits of former Abu Ghraib detainees as a take off point for the discussion. Read More About the Panelists.

This program is co-presented by the Laband Art Gallery, Loyola Law School, and Loyola Law School's International Law Society.

Nick Flynn Reading & Opening Reception

Thursday, January 20, 4p.m. (Reading) 5:30-7p.m. (Reception)
Writer and poet, Nick Flynn will read from his new book The Ticking is The Bomb (Norton, 2010) and from his poems Redacted (2008), a portfolio of poetry and etchings that he created in collaboration with Daniel Heyman. Flynn accompanied Heyman to Istanbul where they sat in on interviews with former Abu Ghraib detainees. This experience was the subject of a chapter in his book The Ticking is The Bomb and a February 2008 article of the same title in Esquire Magazine. Flynn is the author of Another Bullshit Night in Suck City (Norton, 2004) which won the PEN/Martha Albrand Award, was shortlisted for France's Prix Femina, and has been translated into thirteen languages. A film based on the book is schedule to come out in 2012 starring Paul Dano as Nick and Robert De Niro as his father. Flynn's reading will be followed by a discussion with LMU English Professor Rubén Martinez and a reception. This program is co-presented by the Laband Art Gallery, the Fletcher Jones Chair of Writing & Literature, the William H. Hannon Library, and LMU's Creative Writing Program.

Alicia Partnoy Reading & Discussion with Gail Wronsky

February 3, 12:15-1:15p.m.
International best-seller and acclaimed poet, Alicia Partnoy will give a reading of her poetry on the very personal subjects of torture and imprisonment. Partnoy was disappeared in Argentina during the military dictatorship in the 1970s. She is the author of La Escuelita-Relatos testimoniales/The Little School: Tales of Disappearances and Survival (Editorial La Bohemia, 2006/Cleis 1986, 1998) about her experiences as a political prisoner in a secret detention camp. Partnoy is an associate professor of Spanish in the Department of Modern Languages and Literatures at Loyola Marymount University. She presides over Proyecto VOS-Voices of Survivors, an organization that invites survivors of human rights abuses to lecture at universities in the United States. The event will be capped off with a discussion between Partnoy and poet/professor Gail Wronsky. Gail is the Director of Creative Writing and Syntext (Synthesizing Textualities) at Loyola Marymount University. She translated Alicia's book Volando Bajito/Little Low Flying (Red Hen Press, 2005). This program is co-presented by the Laband Art Gallery, LMU's English Department, the William H. Hannon Library, and LMU's Creative Writing Program.

Exploring Legal Issues in Daniel Heyman's Art #2

The Art of Resistance: America's Prison Industrial Complex
Thursday, February 17, 7pm

From overcrowding to poor quality healthcare to violence to a lack of preparation for re-entry into society, there are deep problems with the American prison system (particularly in California). A group of diverse panelists including artist Amitis Motevalli and LMU English and Chicano/a Studies professor Juan Mah y Busch will discuss these many issues and will explore the relationship between these domestic American prisons and the American prisons abroad such as Abu Ghraib. Director and Curator Carolyn Peter will introduce Heyman's series of portraits of African American fathers from Philadelphia who all spent time in prison in the past and the series of former Abu Ghraib detainees as a take-off point for the talk. This program is co-presented by the Laband Art Gallery, The Truth About the Fact Literary Journal of Nonfiction, and LMU's Black Students Services, and Loyola Law School.

Exploring Legal Issues in Daniel Heyman's Art #3

Immigration to the U.S. – Legal Challenges
Tuesday, February 22, noon-1p.m., Loyola Law School, Robinson Courtroom

Loyola Law School Professor Kathleen Kim will host a discussion of the many challenging issues facing immigrants to the United States. Panelists will include Nicole Ochi, Skadden Fellow at the Asian Pacific American Legal Center, Angelica Salas, Executive Director of the Coalition of Human Immigrant Rights of Los Angeles, and Angelo Mathay, a former undocumented student, activist, and community organizer. Laband Art Gallery Director and Curator Carolyn Peter will introduce Heyman's series of portraits of new immigrants to the U.S. as a take-off point for the talk. This program is co-presented by the Laband Art Gallery, Loyola Law School, and Loyola Law School's Immigration Law Society. Read More About the Panelists.

Daniel Heyman in Conversation with Human Rights Lawyer Rosemary Healy and Closing Party

Saturday, March 12, 3p.m. (Conversation), 4-6p.m. (Reception)

Artist Daniel Heyman will join former Human Rights attorney Rosemary Healy in conversation about their experiences interviewing former Abu Ghraib detainees and victims of the Blackwater Nisour Square Massacre from 2005 to 2008. They will share their unique perspectives as an artist and an attorney and will discuss the subsequent twists and turns that their work has taken since those interviews. A reception in honor of Heyman and his exhibition will follow.