Two figures embracing in a kiss. On the left is a silhouette of a figure with a target on their head. On the right is a woman.

Detail of Elena Brokaw’s <em>Human Resource Exploitation: A Family Album</em>. Original photograph by Ramiro García (d 1980).

Aug. 23, 2021

Human Resource Exploitation: A Family Album  

Exhibition Dates • Friday, September 24, 2021 - January 29, 2022
Opening Event • Friday, September 24, 5 - 8 pm
Closing Event • Friday, January 28, 5 - 8 pm
Museum Hours • Tuesday - Saturday 10 am - 5 pm 

Content Notice 
Human Resource Exploitation: A Family Album focuses on the violent effects of government policies.
The exhibition contains dehumanizing language and language related to death and torture.

In 1980, when Elena Brokaw was four and a half months old, the Guatemalan government assassinated her father, the artist and activist Ramiro García. In Human Resource Exploitation: A Family Album, she uses the photographs and ephemera she inherited from him to illuminate the context of his death. Enlarged to a confronting scale, the photographs have been altered by Brokaw to include text from the Human Resource Exploitation Manual -- a torture guide published by the CIA, the organization that trained the Guatemalan authorities who conducted the murder. By juxtaposing the evasive euphemisms of the book with the direct warmth of the photographs, she evokes the clash between violent historical events and the reality of everyday people whose lives are changed by forces beyond their control. 

“The President of Guatemala at the time, General Fernando Romeo Lucas García, was a graduate of the School of the Americas where the Human Resource Exploitation Manual was taught,” the artist says. “When my research led me to this source I immediately had a feeling of complete abjection at the use of institutional language to obscure the actions that were taking place. I use the images that my father took to transfer a portion of the unease, anxiety, and fear that I felt reading it to help create empathy for those that had to live in the environment manuals like these created in Guatemala.” Brokaw is a Creative Writing MFA candidate in Literary Nonfiction at UNLV.

The artist would like to thank the family, friends, and colleagues who have given unfailing support.

Human Resource Exploitation: A Family Album is funded in part with support from Nevada Humanities, the National Endowment for the Humanities, and by the WESTAF Regional Arts Resilience Fund, a relief grant developed in partnership with The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation to support arts organizations in the 13-state western region during the COVID-19 pandemic. Further assistance has been provided by the UNLV Jean Nidetch Care Center. 

About the Marjorie Barrick Museum of Art
The Marjorie Barrick Museum of Art believes everyone deserves access to art that challenges our understanding of the present and inspires us to create a future that holds space for us all. Located on the campus of the most racially diverse university in the United States, we strive to create a nourishing environment for those who continue to be neglected by contemporary art museums, including BIPOC and LGBTQIA+ groups. As the only art museum in the city of Las Vegas, we commit ourselves to leveling barriers that limit access to the arts, especially for first-time visitors. To facilitate access for low-income guests we provide free entry to all our exhibitions, workshops, lectures, and community activities. Our collection of artworks offers an opportunity for researchers and scholars to develop a more extensive knowledge of contemporary art in Southern Nevada. The Barrick Museum is part of the College of Fine Arts at the University of Nevada Las Vegas (UNLV).
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