The Oromaye Project
Eric Gottesman is an artist, teacher and activist who has been collaborating with communities to produce photographs and videos that often challenge preexisting images and perceptions of a culture.Artist Bio
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.
Eric Gottesman has never made an artwork alone. He teaches, organizes, writes, and makes art that aspires to be collaborative, questions accepted notions of power, and proposes models for repair. He is a recipient of the ICP-Infinity Award, the John Simon Guggenheim Fellowship, the National Arts Award from Americans for the Arts. He is a Wide Awake, a Creative Capital Artist, a parent, a Fulbright Fellow, a co-founder of For Freedoms, and he co-created the book Sudden Flowers. His work addresses nationalism, migration, structural violence, and intimacy, and has been shown at health conferences, on the televised opening of the NFL season, inside government buildings, on indigenous reserves, inside post-war rubble and in art museums around the world. Teaching is integral to Gottesman’s art practice and he is a mentor in the Arab Documentary Photography Program in Beirut, Lebanon.