SIXTEN | Guantanamo Bay Resort.

born Sweden  
active Australia 2003

Guantanamo Bay Resort. 2003
artist's proof
Not signed. Not dated. Titled printed upper and lower centre within image 'GUANTANAMO BAY / Luxury Resort'.
printed image 51.2 (h) x 36.0 (w) cm
Gordon Darling Australia Pacific Print Fund 2007
National Gallery of Australia, Canberra
NGA 2007.45.1
© Carl Nyman / Sixten


Sixten is a Swedish stencil artist who lives and works in Melbourne. His Stencil Graffiti art is often political in nature, but is usually softened by its tongue in cheek appropriation of common imagery.  Guantanamo Bayis a more stridently political work that deals with unusually dark subject matter. Using the visual parlance of exotic holiday destinations Sixten emphasises the dubious morality of detention camps such as Guantanamo Bay. 

What at first glance appears to be an advertisement for a ‘luxury resort’ soon turns out to be entirely more sinister. The life – guard watching over the scene is in fact a prison guard with rifle at the ready. The enticement of swaying palm fronds is tempered by their location within barbed wire, and the whole scene is viewed from what could be the porthole of a cruise liner – or more probably the cell window of an inmate. Finished off with a garland of barbed wire, the image is the perfect invitation - Guantanamo Bay does sound like the name of a luxury resort, and Sixten has taken the liberty of imagining for us what a stay there might be like.

Corinna Cullen

Street by Lister

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