Special Projects: Forgiveness and Conflict: Forgiveness and Conflict Artist's Book
"Forgiveness and Conflict: Lessons from Africa" is my ten-year-long project spent working in post-conflict countries in Africa, made possible by support from Catalyst for Peace and the John S. Guggenheim Foundation. It is a published in a signed, limited edition artist's "workbox" of 50 copies, with several handmade components. The work is presented in six separate chapters (see photos in gallery below). Each is accompanied by an essay by the author.
106 photos (including 26 original prints)
1 - 10, $250 SOLD OUT
11-20, $300 SOLD OUT
21-30, $400 (some copies available)
31-50 (not yet available)
Chapter One: The Story of Tamba Ngaujah, 24 pp, 8x8 inches, digitally printed and hand-bound with a three-hole pamphlet stitch. Tamba Nguajah was the first amputee of the war in Sierra Leone. My meeting with him -- and his explanation of why he forgives his perpetrators -- is what launched the project.
Chapter Two: Mato Oput, northern Uganda, 40 pp, 8x25 x 5.25 inches, digitally printed and perfect bound. This work pre-dates the "Stop Kony" campaign. I made several visits to Acholiland to learn about "mato oput," the traditional practice of reconciliation and forgiveness, and also to cover the Lord's Resistance Army's "forgiveness tour" in 2007. Delegates from the LRA toured northern Uganda to seek forgiveness, the first time in the history of Africa that a rebel group asked forgiveness of the population it had victimized.
Chapter Three: In My Life, the story of an ex-girl soldier, 5 archival photo album pages, 11 x 8.5 inches, hand bound with colored jewelry wire. 12 original 4 x 6 inch photos and 3 approx 9 x 6 inch original photos. Photos are copyright stamped in verso, but not signed. This chapter is a collaboration with an ex-girl soldier in Sierra Leone, who is searching for forgiveness but doesn't know how to ask for it because she can't remember who she harmed.
Chapter Four: Fambul Tok, Sierra Leone, 24 pp digitally printed, tabloid size newspaper. Shot over several years, this chapter documents the beginning of Fambul Tok, a local community organization dedicated to reviving the cultural tradition of "fambul tok," which resolves conflict through conversation. Victims and perpetrators of the war voluntarily come together around village bonfires to confess, apologize, forgive and begin the work of reconciliation. I also directed and produced a documentary about this project, which premiered at SXSW in 2011. A DVD of the film is included in the artist's workbox.
Chapter Five: Landscapes from Nelson Mandela's South Africa, 46 pp, 10.75 x 8.25 inches, digitally printed and perfect bound. A series of 18 medium-format landscapes exploring places of historical significance as a way of considering the work of reconciliation that still lies ahead in South Africa.
Chapter Six: Postcards from Rwanda, 12 pp, handmade accordion book, with end boards covered in fabric from Rwanda. 10 4 x 6 inch original photos, plus 1 unique signed Fuji Instax print. For each book, fabric choice, photo sequencing and Instax print are artist's selection (There are 12 different fabrics I work with; some of them are shown in the photo gallery below). Printed pamphlet text separate and held in place against back cover of book with colored elastic band. This chapter is the one cautionary tale in the project, which raises questions about what President Paul Kagame has accomplished in Rwanda, while the West has been praising him. The Rwanda work was shot on an iPhone and is presented as a tourist's view of the country, in "postcards," as a response to the lack of a free press in Rwanda. Photos are copyright stamped in verso, but not signed.
The "workbox" is a sturdy Kraft paper magazine holder, 13.5 x 13.25 x 3.5 inches. The title label and artist's signature label are handwritten, edition numbering is on the side of the box, both sides have text applied on clear adhesive paper, and a single African bead and cord atttached to the finger hole on the front. The book/file folder is deliberately made to accommodate additional "lessons" to be added by the book owner as part of their own research and studies into Africa and its cultural practices of forgiveness and justice.
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TO LEARN MORE ABOUT THE PROJECT, and to see all of the project photos,visit www.forgivenessandconflict.com