Inspired by Chris Arendt’s account and others’ stories of the detained men in the Guantanamo Bay Detention Camp drawing flowers on Styrofoam cups, Amber Ginsburg and Aaron Hughes endeavored to create 779 porcelain cast Styrofoam teacups, one for each individual detained. Each teacup is detailed with the name of one of the 779 individuals along with their country of citizenship. These cups are decorated with a floral design based on the national or native flowers from the detainee’s country of citizenship. There are forty-nine countries that have or had a citizen detained in Guantanamo. In each country’s floral design, the number of flowers represents the number of citizens detained from the respective country. The cups are a lasting collection of artifacts reflecting global conflict while also being individual vessels that are easily lifted out of display and into your hands for a cup of tea.
According to all accounts, the original cups from Guantanamo were destroyed. Aaron Hughes submitted a Freedom of Information Act request to the Department of Defense to inquire about any documentation of these cups with no response.
Amber Ginsburg and Aaron Hughes ultimately plan to connect with arts and community organizations in countries with citizens that are or were detained in Guantanamo. In these countries they hope to host tea, share stories, and distribute the cups as gifts.
Above Images: "During a 2014 Lawrence Arts Center Project Based Artist in Residency Aaron and Amber along with many incredible volunteers opened a cup factory to produce 779 porcelain styrofoam cups." Photographs by Marlo Angle.