Human Resource Exploitation: A Family Album


Sep. 24, 2021, 10am to 5pm
Show Recurring Dates

Office/Remote Location

Marjorie Barrick Museum of Art, East Gallery
A black and white photograph of two people embracing. The photograph has been altered so that one figure is blacked out.

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


Human Resource Exploitation: A Family Album  

  • Exhibition Dates: Friday, September 24, 2021 - January 29, 2022
  • Opening Event: Friday, September 24, 5 - 8 .m.
  • Closing Event: Thursday, January 28, 5 - 8 p.m.

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.

Admission Information

Free admission 

Contact Information

UNLV Marjorie Barrick Museum of Art

External Sponsor

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.