A Work about Rwanda's Genocide by Alfredo Jaar at the Hood
HANOVER, N.H. -- One of the most important works of art about war and violence created in the last thirty years will be exhibited at the Hood Museum of Art, Dartmouth College, from July 8 through August 27, 2006. The Eyes of Gutete Emerita (1996), by Chilean-born artist Alfredo Jaar, serves as witness to one woman's suffering in the Rwandan genocide of 1994. It is the signature work of Jaar's series entitled The Rwanda Project, which leads viewers to question the efficacy of words over photographic images and to consider the ways in which they interact to create meaning outside the boundaries of either medium. This piece was recently acquired by the Hood Museum of Art and joins other powerful war-related works in the collection, including Callot's The Miseries of War and Goya's The Disasters of War, two works by American artist George Bellows (one a promised gift), that depict civilian victims of World War I, photographs of the Eastern front during World War II by Dimitri Baltermants, and two photographs by James Nachtwey, one of an event during the civil war in El Salvador and the other of a victim of the Hutu militias in Rwanda.
The exhibition is generously supported by the Harrington Gallery Fund and is accompanied by an illustrated brochure.
War has been a constant presence from one generation to another and one era to another in all parts of the world, and artists have often been witnesses to these conflicts. When Jaar visited Rwanda in August 1994 after the genocide of April and May, he traveled to Kigali, where the violence was centered. On August 29 he went to the Ntarama Church, forty miles south of this city, where four hundred Tutsi men, women, and children had gathered to escape the killing and instead were brutally slaughtered. While Jaar and his interpreter were there, they met a woman named Gutete Emerita. She told them about seeing her husband and sons murdered during the massacre and escaping with her daughter. In creating The Eyes of Gutete Emerita, Jaar made the decision not to show the results of the carnage, the bodies that still lay rotting at the site; instead he describes it in text. Then he shows the eyes of the woman, whose expression he cannot forget. It is an attempt to fix and convey the horror of systematic violence by focusing on one named survivor.
"Images that show how artists and photographers engage with the subject of war and violence are extremely important to the teaching environment of a college-based museum. One of our primary aims in acquiring Jaar's The Eyes of Gutete Emeritaas well as a related body of work on this themeis to educate students about the circumstances that lead to the making of such work and the role of images in the overarching dialogue about war and its effects.," says Katherine Hart, Associate Director and Barbara C. and Harvey P. Hood 1918 Curator of Academic Programming.
The work was selected for the cover of Between the Eyes: Essays on Photography and Politics by David Levi Strauss (Aperture, 2003) and was the culminating work for a recent exhibition at the Williams College Museum of Art entitled Beautiful Suffering: Photography and the Traffic in Pain.
Alfredo Jaar, an artist, architect, and filmmaker, was the recipient of a Guggenheim Fellowship in 1985 and was chosen to be a MacArthur Fellow in 2000. His solo exhibitions include those at the New Museum of Contemporary Art in New York, the Whitechapel Art Gallery in London, the Modern Museet in Stockholm, the Pergamon Museum in Berlin, and the Museum of Contemporary Art in Chicago.
About the Hood
The Hood Museum of Art at Dartmouth College is an accredited member of the American Association of Museums (AAM) and is cited by AAM as a national model. The Hood is located in the heart of downtown Hanover, N.H., in an award-winning building designed by Charles Moore. The museum's outstanding and diverse collections include American portraits, paintings, watercolors and drawings, silver, and decorative arts, European Old Master prints and drawings, paintings, and sculpture, and Ancient, Asian, African, Oceanic, and Native American collections from almost every period in history to the present. The Hood regularly features its collections and organizes major traveling exhibitions as well as featuring major exhibitions from around the country. The museum provides a rich diversity of year-round public programs.
Admission is free of charge. Operating Hours: Closed Monday; Tuesday through Saturday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.; Wednesday, 10 a.m. to 9 p.m.; Sunday, 12 noon to 5 p.m. Hood Museum of Art Gift Shop offers items inspired by the collections and exhibitions. The Hood is wheelchair accessible and offers assistive listening devices. For further accessibility requests, please contact the museum