Since 1999, American artist Eric Gottesman’s ongoing collaboration with Sudden Flowers, a collective of children living in Addis Ababa, has produced a body of work of profound depth and poetic lightness. In reimagining the harsh realities the children 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 – the young collective and Gottesman probed the possibilities of image making as a tool for self-expression, healing and teaching others. The Polaroid camera and peel-away negatives provided tools for recreating and alleviating the children’s deeply painful injuries. Working together, Sudden Flowers and Gottesman ultimately discovered that photography could be a medium to express their resilience and hunger for life. Over the 15-year span of the work, Sudden Flowers and Gottesman produced exhibitions, short films and installations in Africa, the United States and Europe. Now, in Sudden Flowers, the work of the entire project comes together for the first time in a book.
All books come with a unique envelope, handmade and decorated by the members of Sudden Flowers.
Eric Gottesman is a photographic artist and organizer. Central to his practice is collaboration. He has received a Fulbright Fellowship, a Light Work Artist Residency, an Aaron Siskind Foundation Artist Fellowship, the apexart Franchise Award and grants from the Magnum Foundation, LEF Foundation, Artadia and the Open Society Foundation among others. His work was featured in Aperture and Contact Sheet in 2014 and is in various collections including the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston. He is currently a Faculty Fellow at Colby College and an advisor to the Prince Claus Fund/Arab Fund for Arts and Culture Documentary Photography Program. His first book, Sudden Flowers, was published by Fishbar in 2014.