Paintings: oil on linen, 68 inches x 48 inches
Project website: www.weightsandmeasures.org
Weights and Measures: Portraits of Justice investigates past and current cases of international crime and justice through collective social portraiture and civic dialogues.
The title refers to a sense of being weighed down by the recurrence of atrocity but also measures approaches to justice, accountability for crimes, and the needs of victims and communities.
In personalizing the offenders, victims, and justice communities through portraiture, the project aims to foster communication and empathy among everyone impacted by mass social conflicts and/or injustice.
At the center of Weights and Measures are large-scale oil paintings or diptychs of defendants. The paintings are based on photographs of individuals as they appeared before international courts and tribunals. In active dialogue with the paintings are audio portraits or testimony from witnesses and victims who have been impacted by mass conflict, and color photographs of justice practitioners, who contributed significantly to international judicial initiatives.
This collective social portrait and accompanying civic dialogues emphasize individual and collective accountability in the face of massive social injustice.
Left: Nationalist - Slobodan Milosevic, standing trial at the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (died in custody, trial terminated, after a photoby Raphael Gaillarde)
Right: Nationalist - Slobodan Milosevic, 'Reversal', standing trial at the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (died in custody, trial terminated, after a photoby Raphael Gaillarde)
Constitution Hill, Cultural Heritage Museum, Johannesburg, South Africa
EVA International Biennial, Limerick City, Ireland
Robert Blumenthal Gallery, New York, New York
Kinz Tillou Fine Art, Brooklyn, New York
Curated by Bradley McCallum
'Post-conflict' is a term used in international recovery and justice communities to mark the end of a conflict and the beginning of a new period of development aid, reconstruction, and accountability. But the duration of time that marks the 'post' of the conflict is variable and fragile and involves multiple challenges-ranging from transitional justice issues to rebuilding civil society. While the problems, regions, politics and the points in time are all variable, the power of art to address incomprehensible human abuse, treat injustice as moments of self-examination, and focus our attention in visual and poetic ways remains constant.
This exhibition brings together works by artists who challenge us to examine political issues, prompting us to consider how they impact others, and how art might serve as a means or catalyst to raise political awareness and response.
The context for this exhibition is shaped by my work as the Artist in Residence at the Coalition for the International Criminal Court and my role in defining and directing the long-term mission of the Coalition's Arts Initiative which aims to engage artists in fresh conversations about questions of international justice. In my own project with the CICC, I examine cases brought before the International Criminal Court concerning individuals accused of war crimes, genocide and crimes against humanity as well as those working to end impunity. For instance, even as criminals from the Democratic Republic of the Congo are being tried at the International Criminal Court, the underlying conflict continues.
On 21st November 2016, the WAYAMO Foundation organized a preview of Weights and Measures, Through the Looking Glass – Imagining the Future of International Justice, to open a dialogue on the challenges faced by international criminal justice. As a side-event to annual meeting of the Assembly of States Parties to the Rome Statute (ASP) the exhibition was accompanied by a panel discussion exploring the future of global accountability in the light of declaration of withdrawals of South Africa, Burundi and Gambia from the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court.
Weights and Measures is made possible through the generous support of the following organizations:
National Endowment for the Arts (United States)
New York State Council on the Arts (United States)
The Embassy of Norway (South Africa)
The High Commission of Canada (South Africa)
StratAlign (South Africa)
Including individual gifts and significant in-kind support of our partners in South Africa and beyond:
Southern Africa Litigation Centre (South Africa)
Constitution Hill Museum (South Africa)
Johannesburg Holocaust & Genocide Center (South Africa)
Mesh Club (South Africa)
Creating Rights (Netherlands)
The Project Team:
Natasha Becker (Curator)
Kara Blackmore (Curator)
Nupur Mathur (Graphic Designer)
Naruki Kukita (Artist Assistant)
Marijn Smulders (Artist Assistant)
Jeff Sturges (Photographer)
Marijn Smulders (Photographer)
Masimba Sasa (Events Photographer)
Gavan Eckhart (Sound Engineer)
Brett Anolik (Videographer)
Scott Johnson (Intern)
Sibalwe Gcilitshana (Intern)
© Bradley McCallum 2019