Do not Thank Silence is the title of an exhibition that renowned Cuban artist, Alexys Leyva Machado, better known as Kcho, presented at the National Fine Arts Museum on Saturday.
Dedicated to the five Cubans unjustly locked in US jails for fighting terrorism against Cuba and the United States, the installation shows one of the most sadistic sides of the US penitentiary system. Visitors will be locked for five minutes in a 15 feet long -7 feet wide cell, only equipped with an iron bulk bed, a thin mattress and a concrete seat, plus a toilet seat, a basin and a metal mirror.
The idea is based on the sad and inhuman experience went through by the Cuban Five in the Special House Unit, known as the Hole, at the Mimi Federal Detention Center, where they stayed for 17 months despite the US prison regulation that the top punishment in the hole must be 60 days. The exhibition also includes a room behind bars for temporary exhibits and a small classroom with chairs where some videos on the Cuban Five will be screened.
The cultural and political action commemorates 15 years of struggle for the release of René González, Fernando González (already in Cuba), Ramón Labañino, Gerardo Hernández and Antonio Guerrero. The artist says that Do not Thank Silence lashes out at the unjust US penitentiary system that turns men into rubbish.
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