Admas Habteslasie: Limbo

Admas Habteslasie—Limbo
March 16–June 12, 2009
Spoken-Word Poetry Performance and Gallery Reception: April 9, 2009, 5:30–8:00pm

Light Work is pleased to announce the exhibition Limbo, featuring the work of Admas Habteslasie. The images from this series depict a graceful yet unusually honest and insightful snapshot of Eritrea, an East African country suspended in an unsettled state between war and peace.

Eritrea warred with neighboring Ethiopia for thirty years before gaining independence in 1991. Then, in 1998, they entered another war with Ethiopia that lasted two years. Today the war-torn country is yet again at the brink of war with their neighbor. Years of unrest have left the people of Eritrea waiting for life to improve. According to Habteslasie, “Transitory states become permanent; empty villas, destroyed old buildings and unfinished new buildings dot the landscape, monuments to the suspension of history. The collision between Eritrea’s proud historical narrative and the bleak ennui of the present has produced an obsessive focus on the future. Reconstruction and infrastructure development are energetically driven forward whilst the economy remains essentially shut off from the outside world.” The images in the Limboexhibition capture both destruction and construction, both the unhealed wounds of war and a fierce optimism and hope for a brighter future.

Habteslasie was born in Kuwait and his parents are Eritrean. He received his MA from the London College of Communication in photojournalism and documentary photography. His photographic projects look at the ideas of identity and history, and reevaluation of our relationship with historical process. His work has been exhibited at venues such as Flowers East and 198 Gallery in London. His work has also been published inSource Magazine.

Habteslasie participated in Light Work’s Artist-in-Residence program in June 2008 through a collaboration with London-based charity Autograph ABP. Each year Light Work welcomes one Artist-in-Residence selected through Autograph ABP, which works internationally to educate the public about photography, with a particular emphasis on issues of cultural identity and human rights. Habteslasie was the tenth artist to participate in the Artist-in-Residence program through the collaboration. For more information about Autograph ABP visit

Light Work will feature an evening with the artist on April 9 from 5:30 to 8:00pm. The evening will begin with a spoken-word poetry performance by Verbal Blend, followed by a question and answer session with Habteslasie, and a gallery reception. Verbal Blend is a spoken-word poetry program sponsored by Syracuse University’s Office of Multicultural Affairs, designed to enhance participants’ confidence in writing and performing original poems. The program comprises of a five-week workshop series on poetry forms and formats, journal entry, and peer-reviews. Participants get the opportunity to showcase their work at public venues such as open mic nights. For this event, a group of SU students, high school students, and community members have prepared spoken-word performances in response to Habteslasie’s images.

Also on view at this time is As it Happens: Artists-in-Residence at Light Work. This exhibition, curated by Syracuse University Museum Studies graduate student Josh Brilliant, features work by participants in Light Work’s Artist-in-Residence program. The exhibition celebrates Light Work’s commitment to supporting emerging and under-recognized artists by featuring work that has been donated to the Light Work Collection by participants in the program. Artists included in this exhibition include Kelli Connell, Cristina Fraire, Tony Gleaton, Suzanne Mejean, Peggy Nolan, Christine Osinski, and Amy Stein.

Gallery hours for these exhibitions are Sunday to Friday, 10am–6pm, and by appointment. To schedule an appointment, please call 315-443-1300. Both the exhibition and reception are free and open to the public. Paid parking is available in the Marion Parking Lot and Booth Garage.

Light Work invites groups and individuals to schedule tours and gallery talks of the exhibition and facility. Light Work is a non-profit, artist-run organization dedicated to the support of artists working in photography and electronic media. Light Work is a member of CMAC, the Coalition of Museum and Art Centers at Syracuse University.

For more information about any of these exhibitions, please contact Jessica Heckman at Light Work, 315-443-1300 or

**Digital press images and image information from both exhibitions are available upon request.

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