Project: The Oromaye Project

The Oromaye Project creates space for civic dialogue through the collective visual adaptation of a controversial Amharic novel, Baalu Girma’s Oromaye, and a transnational participatory public photography project. Using the novel as an anthropological, literary and artistic tool, Gottesman will engage people in Ethiopia and Eritrea—where Girma lived, wrote and was last seen—in public readings of his novel and in making photographs that address his legacy and the state of public expression and civic dialogue in contemporary East Africa. The participant-produced work will be exhibited in Eritrea and Ethiopia, and the artist will also collect and exhibit video documentation of the process.

Awardee: Eric Gottesman

Visual Arts, 2015

Eric Gottesman is an artist, teacher and activist. Since 1999, he has been working in and around the Middle East and Africa, collaborating with communities to produce photographs and videos that often challenge preexisting images and perceptions of a culture and/or place as well as the concept of singular artistic authorship. Many of Gottesman's projects examine the quiet, long-term psychological impact of mass trauma. Gottesman has received numerous awards including a Fulbright Fellowship in Art, an Artadia award, an Aaron Siskind Fellowship, the apexart Franchise award, and grants from the Magnum Foundation and the Massachusetts Cultural Council. Most recently his work has been exhibited at the Addison Gallery of American Art, the deCordova Museum and Sculpture Park and Jack Shainman Gallery in New York. His first monograph, Sudden Flowers, was published by Fishbar (London). Gottesman is a 2016-2017 Visiting Associate Professor in Film/Photography/Video at Hampshire College.