November 23 – December 23, 2013
By appointment only from December 26 – January 4, 2014
Opening Reception: Saturday, November 23, 2013, 7-9 pm
Artist Talk: December 17, 7 pm

Artist Eric Gottesman explores the relationship between art, politics, risk and legacy through his revisitation of a controversial Ethiopian novel in One Needs To Listen To The Characters One Creates, an exhibition at Hamiltonian Gallery from November 23 – December 23, 2013 with an opening reception on Saturday, November 23 from 7 – 9 pm.

During the height of the Derg dictatorship in Ethiopia, journalist Baalu Girma secretly wrote the fictional work Oromaye in 1984 while working as an employee of the regime. A work of fiction, the book cleverly critiqued the military dictatorship through the narrative of government employee Tsegaye Hailemariam, a character whose life and experiences bore uncanny parallels to Girma’s own. Although considered a seminal modernist novel in Ethiopia today, Oromaye was banned after its publication and resulted in the death of the author five months later.

In this piece of a multi-part project, artist Eric Gottesman revisits the opening of Oromayeand explores the courageous and controversial figure of Baalu Girma through re-enactments in video and photography. Gottesman, who translated the first three chapters of the novel from Amharic into English, reinterprets fragments of the novel, and in so doing reflects on the passion of the writer, the risk inherent in the artistic process and the consequences that result when censorship and the need for creative expression collide.

Eric Gottesman received his MFA from Bard College in 2007. He earned a Fulbright Fellowship in 2010 as well as awards from the Magnum Foundation, Artadia, the Aaron Siskind Foundation, apexart, the Open Society Foundation and the Massachusetts Cultural Council.A 2013 recipient of the DC Commission on The Arts and Humanities Artist’s Fellowship Award and an artist-in-residence at Light Work in Syracuse, New York, he has shown at the Addison Gallery of American Art, the deCordova Museum and Sculpture Park and the Clark Gallery. Eric began his Hamiltonian Fellowship in  2013.