The Center for Documentary Studies is delighted to host the first U.S. event to celebrate Duke/CDS alum (’98) Eric Gottesman’s first book, Sudden Flowers. Since 1999, Gottesman has collaborated with Sudden Flowers, a collective of children living in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, to reimagine the harsh realities they experienced on the streets and in their homes in the wake of their parents’ deaths—including the trauma of grief, physical abuse, and AIDS-related stigma. Together they explored the possibilities of image making as a tool for self-expression, healing, and teaching others. Over the fifteen-year span of the project, Sudden Flowers and Gottesman produced exhibitions, short films, and installations in Africa, the United States, and Europe. In Sudden Flowers, this work comes together for the first time as a book, composed of photographs by Gottesman and the children in the collective, as well as their essays and letters, family stories and autobiographies, and dreams for the future.
At this event Gottesman will present photographs and give a brief history of Sudden Flowers, the project and the book, and then will be joined by Sudden Flowers collaborators Biniyam Mesfin and Yamrot Alemu in a conversation moderated by CDS cofounder and longtime instructor, photographer Alex Harris.
“I want to be a mechanic so I can fix things.” —Tinsae Muluneh. From the book Sudden Flowers by Eric Gottesman.