04 October, 2010

Aafia Siddiqui Trial Sketches

From Aafia Siddiqui Trial Sketches

The included sketches are from a series that were made during the trial of Dr. Aafia Siddiqui. On September 23, 2010, Siddiqui received a sentence of 86 years after being found guilty of numerous charges - among them, attempted murder of U.S. soldiers and federal agents.

What makes Siddiqui's case unique are the questions that still remain in light of her trial. Where was she prior to her arrest in Afghanistan in July 2008? Was she, as some have alleged, being held in a secret prison at Bagram as Prisoner #650? After all three of her children disappeared, two have turned up - where were they, and what is the fate of her third and youngest child, Suleman?

The fact that some of these questions may never be answered (without the revelation of classified information) highlights some of the shortcomings of the U.S.-led War on Terror. But more broadly, the limits of law, as an ideal of modern, constitutional liberalism, come to the fore. And it is precisely this condition of incommensurability with our ideals that I had in mind when producing these courtroom sketches.

Stylistically, these sketches intentionally differ from the rote, courtroom sketches usually made for evening-news panning. Either finished and flat, or rough, with notes on the side, they retain a resistance to a completely fleshed-out story. A deference to skepticism is maintained, paralleling that which is deserved for Siddiqui's case, as well as any other instance in which a nation proclaims "Victory" over its enemies.

(A digital piece based off of these sketches is in the works...)