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Gitmo Sketches at Hopper House

Nyack illustrator Janet Hamlin says being the Guantánamo courtroom sketch artist is like watching a bad Japanese movie where the audio is out of sync with the video.  But instead of seeing fictional monsters, you are sketching real ones like Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, the principal architect of the 9/11 attacks.

“He had these big goggles on, with an elastic safety strap, ” says Hamlin. She told the New Yorker that she did her best to sketch his likeness but says she may have missed the subtleties of his facial features hidden by his beard and goggles. The subject wasn’t pleased at all — and told the FBI so.  “The nose is wrong. Tell the artist to go get my FBI picture off the Internet,” said Mohammed. “Use that as a reference to fix it.”

Since 2006, Janet Hamlin’s work as the sole court artist covering the Guantanamo Bay tribunals has been published worldwide by The Associated Press, The Toronto Star, the CBC, and CNN. A sample of Hamlin’s Guantanamo illustrations will be on display at the Hopper House through January 10. This is the first public display of some select originals which are the only visual images of the detainees.

Janet Hamlin also facilitates the figure drawing workshops held weekly at Hopper House, with Melanie Rodriguez assisting.

The Hopper House is located at 82 North Broadway in Nyack. The gallery is open Thurs-Sun from 1 to 5p.

Source: New Yorker 7/7/
See also: Journal News,

Illustration “Court art from The Guantanamo Bay Tribunals in Cuba” from

Nyack People & Places, a weekly series that features photos and profiles of citizens and scenes near Nyack, NY, is sponsored by Sun River Health.

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