Volume 47, Number 15 - March 29, 2010


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Laurie Charles
Laurie Charles
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Picture of guillotine
Photo by Tii Kenya Xynn/ Wolfson Bureau

Instruments of torture at the Freedom Tower

By Laurie Charles
laurie.charles002@mymdc.net

A guillotine, a spiked collar, a head crusher and an interrogation chair outfitted with nails and blades are among the devices that will be featured at Instruments of Torture through the Ages, an exhibit scheduled to open on April 2 at Miami Dade College’s Freedom Tower.

The showcase, which will run through Aug. 29, contains nearly 100 devices used to kill and torture people during the 16th and 17th centuries. It aims to show the cruelty and lack of human rights that dominated Europe from the Middle Ages to the Industrial Era, and shed some light on human rights issues facing the world today, said Covadonga Talavera, the U.S. representative for Museo Toscana, the museum  loaning the exhibit to MDC.  

Among the items on display: Hanging cages, pillories, and starvation masks.

“We want to build a conscience on the darkest part of humanity and demonstrate how these weapons were used to degrade humans and humiliate them,” Talavera said.

The College will be running educational lectures, panels and workshops on the topics of freedom, human rights, and torture in tandem with the exhibit. 

“Our mission with this exhibition is to provide information through a historical retrospective about a practice condemned by most civilized countries as an inexcusable crime, but still practiced in many parts of the modern world,” MDC Art Gallery Director Jorge Gutierrez said in a college press release.

The exhibit first opened in Florence, Italy, in April 1983. It has been showcased in Buenos Aires, Argentina; Lisboa, Portugal; and Madrid, Spain.

Admission is $15 for adults, $10 for senior citizens, and $7 for children 12 and under, and free for MDC students and faculty with a valid ID.

WHAT: Instruments of Torture through the Ages.

WHEN: April 2 through Aug. 29.

WHERE: Miami Dade College’s Freedom Tower, 600 Biscayne Boulevard.


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