None of the artists featured in a new exhibition in New York City will be attending this showing of their work. Of the eight artists in the exhibit, "Ode to the Sea," at John Jay College of Criminal Justice in Manhattan, four remain imprisoned at the U.S. military base in Guantánamo Bay, Cuba; four others were released from detention outside of the United States.
All 36 pieces on display, including landscapes, tableaux and a few sculptures, were made by detainees inside Guantánamo.
"Hands Holding Flowers through Bars"
Muhammad Ansi, "Hands Holding Flowers through Bars," 2016.
The exhibition has drawn criticism from family members of those killed in the 9/11 attacks. But it's also drawn the curious.
Ghaleb Al-Bihani, "Lighthouse," 2016.
Co-curator Erin Thompson told CBS News' Tony Dokoupil that when saw the art, "I found it so beautiful and so confusing. Why are people in these circumstances painting flowers and beaches and these very calm scenes?"
Ghaleb Al-Bihani, "Two Boats," 2015.
Water and ocean scenes are prominent, despite the fact that many detainees had never seen an ocean before their detention.
Thompson asked a former detainee, "Why so much water?" He explained that prisoners were blocked from seeing the ocean - just yards from their cells – by tarps covering all the fences. "Only once, for four days, when a hurricane was approaching, did the tarps come down. And they spent those days just looking at the ocean," Thompson said. "After the tarps went back up, they started to paint and sculpt ships, boats, ocean, just to recapture the feeling of peace from those days."
"Untitled (Two Palms)"
Ghaleb Al-Bihani, "Untitled (Two Palms)," 2016.
Al-Bihani was held at Guantánamo for nearly 15 years before he was released in January 2017.
"Sunset with Bridge"
Abdualmalik Abud, "Sunset with Bridge," 2016.
Abud, a Yemeni, was released to Montenegro in 2016 after 15 years in Guantánamo.
Abud told curators he began drawing as an escape: "What I want people to know when they look at my art is that we are humans, we have feelings and emotions, we love life, and we are not like they pictured us."
"Vertigo at Guantanamo"
Ammar Al-Baluchi, "Vertigo at Guantanamo."
Al-Baluchi, charged with helping aid the 9/11 attacks, is one who remains detained at Guantánamo, and has been for more than 10 years, after spending several years in CIA detention. The swirl of color in this work depicts his experience of the brain injury he says he suffered during torture.
Thompson told Dokoupil that, to her, it was the most important work in the show. "It's the most-clear link we have to the mind of someone who is capable of terrorism," she said.
Moath al-Alwi, "Giant," 2015.
Al-Alwi remains at Guantánamo after 14 years. He constructs models of ships from scraps, including cardboard, T-shirts, and plastic.
Djamel Ameziane, "Shipwreck," 2011.
Ameziane was detained at Guantánamo beginning in 2002. He was cleared for release in 2008, but would not be freed for another five years. During that time he created most of his artwork.
"Titanic in Black and White"
Khalid Qasim, "Titanic in Black and White," 2017.
Qasim, a suspected fighter for al Qaeda, has been held at Guantánamo for more than 15 years. His materials include sand and gravel gathered from the prisoners' exercise yard.
Khalid Qasim, "Fins," 2016.
"Looking at the Moon"
Ahmed Rabbani, "Looking at the Moon," 2016.
Rabbani was held by the CIA for two years before being brought to Guantánamo.
Muhammad Ansi, "Shipwreck," 2015.
Ansi was detained at Guantánamo for nearly 15 years before he was released to Oman in January 2017. During his imprisonment he learned to paint and draw, producing mostly landscapes and still lifes, based on photographs from magazines and scenes from movies or TV.
"Statue of Liberty,"
Muhammad Ansi, "Statue of Liberty," 2016.
Ansi, a Yemeni who is accused of being a bodyguard for Osama bin Laden, had never seen the Statue of Liberty itself, only photos from magazines.
"Hand Holding Red Flowers"
Muhammad Ansi, "Hand Holding Red Flowers," 2015 (showing a U.S. government stamp on the reverse).
"Crying Eye (Mother)"
Muhammad Ansi, "Crying Eye (Mother)," 2015.
"Still Life in Green"
Muhammad Ansi, "Still Life in Green," 2016.
The Pentagon has allowed detainees this artistic freedom for years, but in apparent response to this exhibit, it says the release of new artwork from Guantánamo has been suspended, and that all existing Guantánamo-made art will remain the property of the U.S. government.
By CBSNews.com senior producer David Morgan