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august 2019

15aug7:00 pmArt and Activism Talk


Event Details

Transportation, torture, human rights and the power of art will all be discussed at a new talk at Shire Hall Historic Courthouse Museum.

‘Art and Activism’, at 7pm on August 15th

featuring acclaimed artist Bob and Roberta Smith, international human rights lawyer Clive Stafford Smith and University of West of England senior lecturer in history Dr Rose Wallis, and will be chaired by Baroness Jones of Moulescoomb. The discussion will explore themes raised by a new collaborative piece of art, created by Clive Stafford Smith and Bob and Roberta Smith, which asks the questions, ‘who are our contemporary Tolpuddle Martyrs?’ and ‘how can art be used as activism?’ The panel will discuss these themes in a historic context and their contemporary counterparts.

The collaborative artwork was created from a conversation between Bob and Roberta Smith and Clive Stafford Smith; a huge door painted black with writing on it describing some of the torture endured by Guantanamo inmates. It came out of a conversation which started with, ‘who are our contemporary Tolpuddle Martyrs?’ Clive, founder of Reprieve, is currently representing 8 of the 40 remaining Guantanamo detainees. The artwork features descriptions of artwork by Guantanamo detainees depicting their experiences, which Clive was allowed by the US Authorities to bring back to the UK. The talk will be a chance to hear how this collaborative piece of art came into being and what it hopes to achieve.

Clive said: “I am incredibly glad that Bob and Roberta has done this. Firstly, because everyone forgets the people in Guantanamo, in fact many people don’t realise it’s still open and functioning, and anything that brings that to mind is important. Secondly, it thrills the prisoners I work with to have an artist show interest in their work. And finally, that Bob and Roberta is inspiring a new generation, not just of contemporary artists, but of contemporary artists with purpose – to highlight the plight of these prisoners.”

Clive Stafford Smith also worked with students from Lyme Regis’s Woodroffe and Dorchester’s Thomas Hardye’s School for their end of year art projects, which was shown at the Town Mill in Lyme Regis from July 15th to 25th. It featured art by prisoners Ahmed Rabbani and Khalid Qassim, both of whom are currently detained in Guantanamo without charge or trial date. It included an artwork made from a lacquered Guantanamo shirt and gravel and descriptions of torture. From this, Clive worked with the students to create poetry, needlework, paintings and even a song which was co-written by Roger Waters of Pink Floyd. This thought-provoking new exhibition will be coming to Shire Hall Historic Courthouse Museum in January 2020.

For more information and to book your ticket for the talk at Shire Hall, visit or call 01305 261849.


(Thursday) 7:00 pm


Shire Hall

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