Pardiss Kebriaei

Artist Statement

I’m a human rights lawyer and writer living in New York City and originally from Iran. I work at the nongovernmental organization the Center for Constitutional Rights, where I have represented people detained at Guantanamo and others wrongly targeted in the “war on terror” after 9/11 for years. My work on Guantanamo led me to the broader U.S. prison landscape, and my interests today are largely centered on work to end mass incarceration. I do my lawyering work because of the proximity it allows me to often-closed spaces, the granular view of systems I want to change, and the privilege of client and community relationships. I write nonfiction as an outlet for what I’ve been able to see, as a form of advocacy in partnership with the people I write about, and as a way of grappling and release.


While at Headlands

While at Headlands, I hope to work on a series of essays about the legacy of post-9/11 policies on those targeted and affected. I once heard a former Iraq war veteran talk about the second and third order effects of violence as the most consequential—the reverberations. It’s these traces and changes over time, in the bodies and trajectories of people I’ve worked with, that I am thinking about and want to show.