From the Middle East Times:
NEW YORK, NY, USA — The initial 6,000 print run of a 112-page book of 86 shocking color illustrations by Colombian artist Fernando Botero depicting the torture of Iraqi prisoners titled Abu Ghraib is selling well in the United States and will be reprinted, a spokesman for Prestel Publishing here said.
“Considering this is not the kind of book you would give to your Aunt May for the holidays, we are encouraged that a book on a difficult subject is selling well,” said Stephen Hulburt, the North American marketing director for Prestel. The book went on sale last month. …
Hulburt said Abu Ghraib fits in with the historic tradition of protest art such as Goya‘s Disasters of War about the Napoleonic occupation of Spain, Picasso’s Guernica about the Spanish bombed by Hitler, and Botero’s own 1990s paintings about Colombian drug war violence.
He said Prestel is not a political publishing house and “we present our books as art.”
Asked why he departed from his usually humorous subject matter, Botero told the Associated Press, “I, like everyone else, was shocked by the barbarity [of Abu Ghraib], especially because the United States is supposed to be this model of compassion.”
Abu Ghraib prison is located roughly 30 kilometers (about 20 miles) west of Baghdad and held about 5,000 Iraqis.
According to David Ebony, “Guards regarded the detainees as terrorists rather than as prisoners of war” and ignored their rights under the Geneva Convention. …
“Botero’s cry of outrage expressed in the Abu Ghraib series,” Ebony continued, “is an attempt to help shift the attention of the public toward the timely and timeless issues of peace and humanity.
“Coming from an artist known for images of pleasure during a time of war and terror, the gruesome and violent scenes he depicts are exceptionally disturbing and moving,” he wrote.
“He joins a long list of artists who have passionately responded to tumultuous current events outside the rarefied ambiance of a successful artist’s studio.”
Eduardo Galeano on torture: here.