Tuesday, Apr. 05, 2011

Owen Maseko

For decades, Zimbabwe has been ruled by authoritarian leader Robert Mugabe, who responds to any criticism of his rule with harsh punishment. In 2010, artist Owen Maseko exhibited paintings critical of Mugabe, depicting government-led massacres in the western portion of the country during the 1980s. They were displayed for only one day, until Mugabe found out and the exhibit was closed. Since it's against the law to insult or undermine the President's authority, Maseko was slapped with leg irons, taken to prison and held for four days. He was reportedly interrogated in 12-hour sessions, and his work has been banned in Zimbabwe. If formally convicted, he could face up to 20 years in prison.