Our kick-off event, the opening reception of the exhibition “The Encounter: Baalu Girma and Zora Neale Hurston” coincides with Zora Neale Hurston’s 125th birthday.

At the opening reception, don’t miss award-winning performance artist Wanda Raimundi-Ortiz, who will provide a key note “lecture” using academic jargon outside of its intended context while wearing academic robes constructed from appropriated materials (including repurposed regalia). Through this strategy she targets the assumption that all academics are thoroughly groomed for academic culture. 

The exhibition, featuring the work of Eric Gottesman, will be on display at the UCF Art Gallery January 11 – February 13, 2016. While conducting photo workshops in Ethiopia, Gottesman learned about, and researched, the tragic life, and death, of Baalu Girma, the celebrated novelist and journalist whose death in 1984 is attributed to agents of the Ethiopian government. “The Encounter” proposes a fictional encounter between Hurston and Girma. The two writers overlapped in time, but never in place, at least not until 2014, when Gottesman came to the Cornell Museum at Rollins as part of a group exhibition “Fractured Narratives.” It is there that he encountered the legendary history of Zora Neale Hurston, and where he conceived this project, a collaboration between Gottesman and the students and faculty of the UCF School of Visual Arts and Design (SVAD) and their colleagues at Rollins College in nearby Winter Park.

Visit the UCF Art Gallery event page.