© 2019 Anna Van Lenten

Postcards from Rwanda / Sara Terry

December 2017

© Sara Terry

Exhibit opening & talk
Monday December 4th, 2017, 7:00 PM
Ron Haviv talks to Sara Terry about Postcards, as well as her larger project, Forgiveness and Conflict: Lessons from Africa

I didn’t come to Rwanda until the fall of 2015, 21 years after the genocide. I’d followed Rwanda closely, concerned by its state-mandated agenda of unity and reconciliation--a top-down, carefully-managed narrative aimed at constructing a new Rwanda, with only one ethnicity, “Rwandan.” During the month I was there, I found that it’s almost impossible to have a meaningful discussion with Rwandans about anything that counters the new narrative.

The danger of a society with a unified narrative that allows for no other voices in the public space, is that people aren’t encouraged to think for themselves. In fact, it’s actually criminalized – it can cost you your life (several opposition politicians forced to leave Rwanda have been murdered abroad in recent years). This doesn’t mean that there aren’t Rwandans firmly committed to building a just society, or deep and genuine acts of reconciliation, or friendships preserved across ethnic lines. It’s just that the suppression of truth – of someone else’s narrative – makes for a shaky foundation for nation building.

 

Shadows. Lessons. Warnings.

~ Sara Terry

SARA TERRY is an award-winning documentary photographer and filmmaker, and a member of VII Photo, best known for her work as a post-conflict storyteller. She won a 2012 Guggenheim Fellowship for her long-term project, “Forgiveness and Conflict: Lessons from Africa.” In 2003, she founded The Aftermath Project, a grant-making, educational non-profit which supports photographers working on post-conflict stories, The Aftermath Project is celebrating its tenth anniversary with a book and a traveling exhibition which will launch in 2018.

 

An accomplished speaker on aftermath and visual literacy issues, Terry’s lectures include a TedX talk and several appearances at The Annenberg Space for Photography. Terry has directed and produced two feature-length documentaries, Fambul Tok (2011) and FOLK (2013). Fambul Tok was supported by the Sundance Documentary Institute and Chicken and Egg, and was hailed by Paste magazine as one of the best 100 documentaries of all time. 

 

Terry is currently working on her third documentary, “That’s How We Roll,” about mobile home parks and the affordable housing crisis.