Portraits of inhumanity on exhibit

Daniel Heyman has an artistic style that can be described as being almost overbearingly simplistic, but undeniably unique. He uses single black lines to create striking portraits that are dazzling and almost confounding in their minimalist nature. Heyman has chosen to undertake a project that focuses on the detainees at the prison in Abu Ghraib, a city in Iraq. Abu Ghraib is notorious for having been a detention facility utilized by the U.S. military after the fall of Saddam Hussein in which photographic evidence reveals that various acts of torture and degradation were performed on the Iraqis that were held there. Emphasizing minute characteristics, stretching spatial proportions and never adding more than is absolutely necessary to his drawings, he has chosen a way of artistic expression that only serves to reinforce the most important characteristic of his portraits: the facial expressions.Heyman describes his work on his Web site, http://www.danielheyman.com, and also at the exhibit: “I sit in this hotel room and draw the face of an Iraqi who is telling the most humiliating and degrading story of his life. I try to disappear.” One portrait has the proud profile of an Iraqi man, his hair combed back, wearing a suit and tie. His eyes are distant and looking down, and in the background is an innocently bizarre scrawl akin to that of a second grader: “We were asked to undress and stayed under the hot sun for hours, hand-cuffed. We were not guilty of anything. If we had done something I would have been proud, but we had not done anything.” This exhibit is both moving and inspiring; through his art Heyman shows people, not just victims, and restores humanity to those who have been horrendously wronged. Daniel Heyman’s exhibit will be on display at the Kasini House at 64 North st. until Nov. 17 (http://www.kasinihouse.com).