One Rwanda: Portraits of Contemporary Life

Bill Bamberger, Sewing class in the children's village of Kigarama

Bill Bamberger, Sewing class in the children’s village of Kigarama

Exhibiting:  March 7, 2016 – August 5, 2016


Exhibition Statement

On the 20th anniversary of the Rwandan Genocide, photographer Bill Bamberger traveled throughout the country to photograph the daily lives of the Rwandese people.

Like most documentarians visiting Rwanda at this historic time, Bamberger went there with plans to undertake a post-genocide project: to photograph children who had grown up parentless as a result of the genocide and were now raising families of their own.

But as Bamberger began to get to know the country and people, the focus of his project shifted. Over the course of three months, he journeyed by bus around Rwanda, meeting with Rwandese and international volunteers. During this time, he visited health clinics in Kigali’s poorest neighborhoods, schools in remote mountain villages, an orphanage on the banks of Lake Kivu, tea fields in the south, sugar cane fields in the north, national parks on the borders of the country and tennis clubs in Kigali’s most affluent neighborhoods.

Struck by the warmth, humanity, and collective resilience of the people as they sought to forge a new national identity, Bamberger stopped thinking about the Rwandese primarily as Hutus or Tutsis, or as perpetrators or survivors, as the international media most often portrayed them.

Instead, his photographs explore how the people of Rwanda are finding their way while faced with modern-day issues like healthcare, education and housing. We get a glimpse of how people are living side-by-side in ‘one Rwanda’, the government’s catchphrase for a country trying to put itself back together, 20 years after the genocide.

In the tradition of German photographer August Sander—whose landmark publication Face of Our Time depicted a diverse cross-section of society during the Weimer Republic—Bamberger’s portraits reveal the modern-day face of Rwanda and include: farmers, shopkeepers, taxi drivers, security guards, country club members, construction workers and orphaned children.

 

Biography

 

Bill Bamberger’s work explores large social issues of our time: the demise of the American factory, housing in America, and adolescents coming of age in an inner-city high school.  His first book, Closing: The Life and Death of an American Factory won the Mayflower Prize in Non-Fiction and was a semifinalist for the Robert F. Kennedy Book Award.  His photographs have appeared in Aperture, Doubletake, Harper’s and the New York Times Magazine.  He has had one-person exhibitions at the Yale University Art Gallery, the Smithsonian Institution, the North Carolina Museum of Art and the National Building Museum.  A trademark of Bamberger’s photography is that it is first shown in the neighborhood where it was created, prior to its museum exhibition.

Documenting Italy’s Refugees

On March 30th from 12:00pm – 1:00pm, storytellers and visual journalists Gabriela Arp and Andrea Patiño Contreras will share their experiences documenting the flood of refugees entering Europe through Italy during the Wednesdays at the Center series. Their most recently project, Divided by the Sea, outlines the African and Middle Eastern refugees crossing the Mediterranean to enter the EU through the small southern Italian town of Reggio Calabria.

On June 22nd, a Singaporean ship managed by the Danish shipping company TORM A/S, rescued two boats off the Libyan coast with 221 refugees mostly from West Africa and took them to the port of Reggio Calabria.

On June 22nd, a Singaporean ship managed by the Danish shipping company TORM A/S, rescued two boats off the Libyan coast with 221 refugees mostly from West Africa and took them to the port of Reggio Calabria.

Arp and Patiño Contreras are currently master’s students in the University of North Carolina’s School of Media and Journalism. Patiño Contreras graduated from Duke’s Trinity College in 2012 and studied Cultural Anthopology. A photo from the Dvided by the Sea project won Patiño Contreras the 2015 Duke Sanford School of Public Policy #PolicyinAction photo contest.

Watch “The Story Behind the Photo: Andrea Pantiño Contreras” produced by Duke’s Sanford School of Public Policy:

 

China’s Innovation Challenge: Overcoming the Middle-Income Trap

Professor Emeritus Arie Lewin will present his theories on China’s innovation challenge during the Wednesdays at the Center series on February 24, 2016 from 12:00pm – 1:00pm. The lecture will focus on the work of Lewin forthcoming edited volume, “China’s Innovation Challenge: Overcoming the Middle-Income Trap” (Cambridge University Press, 2016)

Professor Lewin taught in Duke’s Fuqua School of Business. Lewin’s research interests include firm wealth creation in chaotic environments through strategies of exploitation and exploration, coevolution of organizations and their environments,  and designing the super adaptive firm.

 

Watch Lewin’s introduction video to China’s Innovation Challenge:

Refugee Lives

Gulwali Passarlay

Gulwali Passarlay speaks to Duke undergrads.

On January 21, the Duke University undergraduate students in the Refugee Lives: Violence, Culture and Identity class, co-taught by miriam cooke, Maha Houssami, and Nancy Kalow, welcomed special guest Gulwali Passerlay via Skype from the United Kingdom (UK). Passerlay recently co-author The Lightless Sky (Harper Collins Publishers, 2016) which tells his harrowing one-year journey as a refugee from Afghanistan to the UK when he was just 12 years old. The now 21 year old Passerlay studies at the University of Manchester, and shared stories with the class about his travels through Iran, Turkey, Greece, Italy, and France, including the smugglers good and bad, safe-houses, prison, refugee camps, and the friends he made along the way.

Refugee Lives: Violence, Culture and Identity examines how writers, artists, and filmmakers represent the ways in which Afghans, Palestinians, Syrians, Iraqis, Sudanese and Egyptians become refugees and their adaptation strategies to new, harsh circumstances both in and outside the Arab world. The course discusses government and non-governmental organizations that have worked with Arab refugees since 1948 and explores the role played by refugees in constructing national identity and consciousness. Refugee Lives is cross listed in the department of Asian and Middle Eastern Studies and the Center for Documentary Studies.