Funded! This project was successfully funded on September 10, 2011.

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I want to publish a book of photographs I made in collaboration with children in one neighborhood in Ethiopia since 1999.

UPDATE: LET'S KEEP GOING FOR WIDER DISTRIBUTION IN ETHIOPIA AND THE USA!!!

Thank you so much to everyone for getting this project to its original goal so quickly; no one is more surprised and humbled than me. It is so so exciting that the book is finally going to be published!! 

Because of the overwhelming outpouring of support for the project, I am increasing our fundraising goal in order to distribute this book more widely throughout Ethiopia and the United States. I will be back in Ethiopia this fall and will work with the members of Sudden Flowers to produce a special archive edition of the book that will be distributed to organizations, libraries and schools in Ethiopia and that will be incorporated into exhibitions here in the US. My personal aim is to double our initial goal and raise $20,000 for this purpose. Please consider joining us to get this book out to as many people as we can.

Thank you!!!

(Below is the original description of the project.)

=====================

First of all, THANK YOU for coming to this site to learn about the Sudden Flowers Project.  If you have any questions email me (ejg2@yahoo.com) or check my website for more information about the project (www.ericgottesman.net).

WHAT I PLAN TO DO: After eleven years of work, I want to publish a book of photographs and texts I have produced with 24 children in one neighborhood in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.  We have spent a long time preparing this and are ready to publish and distribute the book to a wider audience.  We just need your help first.

(the book cover)

BACKGROUND: In 1999, I began working with six children living together in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia whose parents had died of HIV/AIDS. I asked them to work with me to portray their own lives through photography. The children agreed to collaborate on the condition that their work be used to help other children like themselves. Soon after, the children formed the collective "Sudden Flowers," a collective dedicated to making art and films about the impact of HIV/AIDS and showing them to audiences around Ethiopia and around the world.

Since then, we have shown our work widely in Ethiopia and confronted the stigma of the disease there. In 2000, Sudden Flowers and I created the first photography exhibition about HIV/AIDS in Ethiopia’s history. Later, we designed a portable exhibition that traveled across Ethiopia to towns and villages, reaching tens of thousands with photographs and educational material.

In addition, Sudden Flowers has produced over 10 short films in Ethiopia, winning acclaim from international institutions such as UNICEF, the Open Society Institute, Harvard University and MTV.  We have shown Sudden Flowers' work on five continents.

I saw Mommy Dead. -- Image by Selamawit Alemu

THE BOOK: This book, Sudden Flowers: May The Finest In The World Always Accompany You!, consists of my photography from the early stages of the project, essays and letters by the founding children of Sudden Flowers, photographs taken by the children themselves, family stories and autobiographies they wrote describing their dreams for the future. 

While many of the stories and much of the imagery included in the book are heartrending, the book’s core and message lies in the resilient creativity that these children possess and that I was lucky enough to witness time and again. This book will allow others this unique experience as well.  

When we raise the money we need here, our book, Sudden Flowers: May The Finest In The World Always Accompany You!, will be published by Umbrage Editions, an esteemed New York photography publisher in an edition of 2,000 and will include both black and white and color photography, as well as accompanying text written by me. 

 
 

(spreads from the book manuscript)

PRINT-READY DESIGN: By the unbelievably AWESOME Make Believe Collective.  160 pages of goodness.  8.5 x 11 inches.  Black and white and color with book-board covers.  It is finished and ready to go to press.  All we need is the money.  

WHAT THE MONEY WILL BE USED FOR:  1) Finalizing the book editing.   2) Printing 2000 copies of the book with Umbrage Editions. 3) Distribution of the book within the United States and Ethiopia. 4) Production of an exhibition of the work in the book at Umbrage Gallery in Brooklyn, New York.

WHY THIS BOOK IS IMPORTANT TO OUR WORK: Sudden Flowers has done a remarkable amount of work to open dialogue through their street art installations in Ethiopia, and they want to become better known within the United States. The book will help us reach a wider international audience and attract attention from potential partners. In addition, we hope to send copies of the book to Sudden Flowers in Ethiopia to help foster the collective’s growth there.  

(Sudden Flowers member Mahalet Muluneh explaining a public exhibition of our photographs)

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    8 backers

    SINCERE THANK YOU - Acknowledgement on my website, ericgottesman.net.

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    7 backers

    BEHIND THE SCENES - Web access to rare digital content from 10 years of working with Sudden Flowers including handwritten letters, pictures and funny dance videos.... not everything made it into the book.

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    26 backers

    POLAROID THANK YOU - A thank you note on a Polaroid picture that I take just for you (plus Behind the Scenes access).

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    11 backers

    EXHIBITION CATALOG - You will receive a first edition catalog of a solo exhibition of Sudden Flowers's work as well as work by American college students inspired by our work in Ethiopia (plus thank-you note and Behind the Scenes access).

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    5 backers

    THE MASK VIDEOS (DVD) - A rare first-edition DVD of award-winning Sudden Flowers short films directed by Eric Gottesman (plus exhibition catalog, thank-you note and Behind the Scenes access).

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    17 backers

    SIGNED BOOK + DVD - Shipped or handed to you upon publication (plus Behind the Scenes access).

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    16 backers Limited (14 left of 30)

    VINTAGE SIGNED CONTACT PRINT + DVD - Made in my Ethiopia darkroom, these 3.5" x 4.5" prints are rough as my darkroom there was in my bathtub... but they are authentic and will be signed. Available until they run out (plus Behind the Scenes access).

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    6 backers Limited (14 left of 20)

    LIMITED EDITION PHOTO + DVD - 11" x 14" Signed and editioned photographic print of the image at the end of the project description (below) titled "If I Were Not Who I Am, I Would Be a Singer." (plus a Polaroid thank-you note, DVD and Behind the Scenes access)

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    3 backers All gone!

    A NIGHT WITH THE ARTIST - Private tour of my solo exhibition at Real Art Ways in Hartford, CT between July and October 2011, cocktails afterward at the Hartford establishment of your choice and conversation about art, the project or whatever you want to discuss for up to four people (plus one book, DVD and Behind the Scenes access).

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    3 backers Limited (2 left of 5)

    A NIGHT WITH THE ARTIST - Private tour of your choice of several Boston-area exhibitions during 2012, cocktails afterward at the establishment of your choice and conversation about art, the project or whatever you want to discuss for up to four people (plus one book, DVD and Behind the Scenes access).

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    1 backer Limited (2 left of 3)

    WORKSHOP - A day-long photographic seminar for up to 5 children (or adults) in the style of Sudden Flowers' photographic workshops. We will make art together and learn about photography (if beyond driving distance, travel not included). (plus rewards before the $500 level)

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    1 backer Limited (1 left of 2)

    ART - One of 2 photographic cloths (10 feet x 3 feet). My original photographs printed on traditional Ethiopian cloths custom-made by weavers in Addis Ababa to match the colors and designs of the photographs. These are unique, unable to be duplicated and in limited supply.

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    0 backers Limited (5 left of 5)

    ART PORTFOLIO - A suite of 3 specially selected, signed, limited edition 30" x 40" prints from the Sudden Flowers archive.

Funding period

- (58 days)