Shristi Shrestha

Nepal, Mount Holyoke College (USA)

Spring 2014 Program Participant

Final Project Statement “Revelation of a Classified Case”

In 2003, the CIA arrested Khaled-el-Masri, mistaken for a terrorism suspect, at a border crossing in Macedonia. He was detained in Macedonia and later flown to a CIA run prison in Afghanistan, where he was repeatedly interrogated, tortured and forced to admit that he was linked with Al Qaeda. His screams of pain and attempts to escape were in vain. After four months of torture, two hunger strikes and a sojourn in multiple prisons, he was dumped on a mountainside in Albania.

Revelation of a Classified Case investigates the case of Khaled el-Masri, one of the numerous classified cases of extraordinary rendition by the CIA. My work, including paintings and intervention in a small dark room, focuses on his unaccounted torture. I drew upon texts and interviews available online, including el-Masri’s personal account of the experience. I covered his image with drenched paper, smothered it, crumpled and tore it to reflect the physical and emotional torture that he was subjected to. I dragged a rag across the room. I removed him from his family portrait. A dirty jumpsuit hangs in the corner of the room, or does it?


Self-portrait work with Spring Project fellow, Mequitta Ahuja:

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“Retreat from Reality” 6-week Project Unit: 

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Work-in-Progress from first studio exercise “Sight, Site & Seriality”

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Intro Unit, Week 3: “Tempo Zulu” Project

For the third and final week of the intro unit, for her “Tempo Zulu Project”, Shristi responded to the grandeose facade of Siena’s cathedral, creating a proposal for a paving stone to be placed in the piazza facing the facade with the inscription “Alert: the grandeur lies” and with a border mimicing the inlay stone designs of the cathedral’s decorative paving stones.

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Intro Unit, Week 2: “Mapping and Archiving” Project

For her Mapping & Exploring Project in week 2, Shristi created an audio composition of found sounds which she recorded and overlayed/mixed to create a 3-minute sequence: bells, traffic, voices, birdsong, dripping water, exploring space through sound.

Intro Unit, Week 1: “Out of the Gates” Project

In the first week of the program, for her “Out of the Gates” project, Shristi responded to the location of Porta Pispini with its multiple layers through cut a collage made from a cut map of London, and a folded “booklet” with a watercolor and cut-out of the gate opening.


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