Tom Block began the Human Rights Painting Project in 2002 to raise awareness of human rights issues from around the world, as well as support the work of Amnesty International. Among the goals of that vital group are ensuring fair, prompt trials for political prisoners; abolishing torture and other ill treatment of incarcerated persons and ending political killings and "disappearances." It also seeks freedom for all "prisoners of conscience" — people who have been detained for their political, religious or other beliefs or their national or ethnic origin, color, sex or other status.
Tom Block's Human Rights Painting Project highlights the struggle for human rights the world over - and the important work that Amnesty International does in working towards this goal. Using a contemporary artistic voice, Mr. Block interprets different aspects of the struggle for human rights, emphasizing the stories that bring it to life. Biographies of each person featured accompany the paintings.
The works themselves capture the range of emotions experienced in this battle. Fear, destitution and pain, as well as hope, joy and even sanguinity form themselves in these faces. Ultimately, the paintings bring together man's best and worst impulses — the heroes of the images are a counterpoint to the regimes and authorities that forced them into that role. We are left with the uncomfortable question of which group is more typical of our human race - and which the exception.
This web site depicts original works of art that have been created as part of this effort to promote human rights awareness and to raise funds for Amnesty International. Award-winning artist Tom Block, a member of AI Chapter #297 in Takoma Park, Maryland, has painted the series of portraits depicting the wide range of people that have devoted themselves to defending human rights the world over. All paintings and drawings that aren't indicated as having been sold are available for purchase, with up to 50% of proceeds going to Amnesty International.