Obama: 365 & Counting

I will be exhibiting at 365 & Counting, a group exhibit that examines the 1st year of the Obama Administration. Avenue 50 Studio in the Highland Park district of Los Angeles asked 15 artists to create artworks that provide insight into the president’s first year, and issues of race, class, war, health care, the environment and the economy, plus other global challenges – are explored in the timely exhibition.

Bagram Prison, Afghanistan - Mark Vallen. 2009. Oil on linen.  On display at Ave. 50 Studio from Nov. 14 - Dec. 6, 2009.

"Bagram Prison, Afghanistan" - Mark Vallen. 2009. Oil on linen. On display at Ave. 50 Studio from Nov. 14 - Dec. 6, 2009.

Given the escalating war in Afghanistan, I painted a glimpse of the notorious military prison located in the U.S. Airbase at Bagram, Afghanistan.

The prison currently holds more than 600 detainees designated as “unlawful enemy combatants”; individuals that in some cases have been tortured and held for years without charge, legal representation, or due-process rights.

In February of 2009, the Obama administration began a $60 million expansion of the Bagram prison so that it could potentially hold as many as 1,100 suspects. As the Associated Press reported on November 1, 2009, as President Obama escalates the war in Afghanistan the U.S. Airbase at Bagram is being expanded even though it presently occupies over 5,000 acres and from a distance looks “more like a medium-size city than a military facility in a war zone.”

The 365 & Counting exhibition will be on view from November 14 to December 6, 2009. The exhibit also includes artists Alex Alferov, Yrneh Brown, Nancy Buchanan, Chukes, Carol Colin, Kathi Flood, Graham Goddard, Miguel Angel Murillo, CCH Pounder, Suzanne Siegel, Joseph Sims, Charles Swenson, Richard Turner, and Ted Waltz.

The Artist’s Reception for 365 & Counting takes place on Saturday, November 14, 2009, from 7 to 10 p.m. Avenue 50 Studio is located at; 131 N. Avenue 50, Highland Park, California, 90042 (map & directions). Phone: 323: 258-1435.

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