The Absence of Light




Steel, encaustic, sand, graphite, on wood panels

72" x 60" x 84"

In The Absence of Light, I am exploring issues relating to incarceration and torture. In 2002 Canadian citizen Maher Arar was extradited by U.S immigration officials to Syria where he was held in prison for eleven months and tortured. In interviews Arar has referred to his cell as his grave. The cell was only 3 x 6 x 7 feet. There was no light except for some small slits in the ceiling. Rather than recreate Arar's cell literally, the work evokes the cell's atmosphere, its blackness and a feeling of claustrophobia. The sculpture gives the viewer the opportunity to step into Arar's nightmare, and to consider the implications of repealing human rights in the name of security.

Essay by Ben Darrah in Canadian Art, 2007