Kenyon College
 

Portraits of Iraqis series

[+]
Daniel Heyman
Click to view the gallery
 

Daniel Heyman (b. 1963)

Top left:

He Hit My Head With a Metal Bar — Mohamed II. 2008.

Gouache on Nishinouchi paper. 31 ½ x 41 ⅜ x 2 inches.

Courtesy the Artist and Cade Tompkins Projects.

 

Top Center:

Camp Two — Mohamed III. 2008.

Gouache on Nishinouchi paper. 31 ½ x 41 ⅜ x 2 inches.

Courtesy the Artist and Cade Tompkins Projects.

 

Top right:

I Was a Taxi Driver (I Also Sold Satellite Dishes) — Mohamed I. 2008.

Gouache on Nishinouchi paper. 31 ½ x 41 ⅜ x 2 inches.

Courtesy the Artist and Cade Tompkins Projects.

 

Bottom left:

II Am a Farmer. 2008.

Gouache on Nishinouchi paper. 31 ½ x 41 ⅜ x 2 inches.

Courtesy the Artist and Cade Tompkins Projects.

 

Bottom center:

I Did Not Have A Beard. 2008.

Gouache on Nishinouchi paper. 31 ½ x 41 ⅜ x 2 inches.

Courtesy the Artist and Cade Tompkins Projects.

 

Bottom right:

The Broomstick Was Metal. 2008.

Gouache on Nishinouchi paper. 31 ½ x 41 ⅜ x 2 inches.

Courtesy the Artist and Cade Tompkins Projects.

These pieces, taken from Daniel Heyman’s Portraits of Iraqis series, are placed at the intersection of art and personal history, portraiture and testament. Heyman made the portraits while sitting in on interviews between former Abu Ghraib detainees and Susan Burke, a human rights lawyer with Burke O’Neil LLC, Philadelphia. These portraits, from his 2008: August in Istanbul sessions, are expressionistic, capturing the swaths of color in the men’s faces as they tell their stories. They notably avoid the clichéd journalistic images we associate with Abu Ghraib and American military detainees, instead capturing the subjects with composed expressions, in civilian dress. Heyman allows the men’s words to convey the emotional weight of their pasts. In some portraits, the stories of torture and neglect collect in flourishes and spirals, conveying the storyteller’s personal style and imagination. Some settle over their speaker’s shoulders as though to comfort, and others march in regimented lines away from the speaker’s closed, pained face. Heyman’s compassionate portraits investigate the purpose of storytelling: is it a healing ritual or an act of revenge? Heyman presents the with respect for the storyteller, avoiding sensationalism, instead asking the viewer to face these men as equals who deserve to be heard.

 

Painter and printmaker Daniel Heyman was a Guggenheim Fellow in 2010. He teaches art at Rhode Island School of Design, Princeton University and Swarthmore College. Heyman holds an MFA from the University of Pennsylvania, and he lives and works in Philadelphia.

 

 

Maddie Gobbo ’12

Post-Baccalaureate Curatorial Intern

 

 
ADD A COMMENT

RELATED INFORMATION