October 17, 2016–April 15, 2017
Opening reception: Thursday, October 27, 6–8 p.m.
Porch and University Galleries
Center for Documentary Studies
1317 W. Pettigrew St.
Durham, NC 27705
Transits and Migrations: A Summer in Berlin includes work by students Rachel Corr, Dai Li, Ellen Liew, Barbara McHugh, Iliana Sun, Genevieve Valladao, Katlyn Walther, Wenqin Wang, and Deanna White, as well as recent John Hope Franklin Award winners Grace Farson and Amirah Jiwa and class instructor Christopher Sims.
November 17, 2016–February 18, 2017
Kreps and Lyndhurst Galleries
1317 W. Pettigrew St.
Durham, NC 27707
Canadian documentary photographer Michel Huneault was awarded a solo show at CDS as part of the Lange-Taylor Prize, which he won in 2015 for Post Mégantic, his project on a small town in Quebec that was the site of Canada’s deadliest train disaster in 150 years. The $10,000 prize supports documentary artists, working alone or in teams, whose extended fieldwork projects rely on the interplay of words and images.
A meditation on loss and mourning, Post Mégantic incorporates photographs, videos, oral histories, and installations to tell the story of Lac-Mégantic, Quebec, where on the night of July 6, 2013, a cargo train from North Dakota carrying nearly 8 million liters of shale oil derailed and exploded, killing 47 people and effectively destroying the town. From a population of 6,000, one out of every 128 citizens died. The explosion leveled most of the town center, creating a 400-meter-wide area that is still inaccessible.
More information on Michel Huneault and Post Mégantic, including a slideshow and short video
“After fourteen visits and seventy days on the ground, up to mid-July 2014,” Huneault writes in his project statement, “I had completed a symbolic one year of mourning with the community. . . . Through the seasons and aftershocks, I became friends with many Méganticois, sharing in the ebb and flow of their emotions: pain, anger, hope for healing and peace of mind. Late in 2014, I was present to document another peculiar event: After more than a year of debates, the city decided to flatten half of the Red Zone, the still-contaminated downtown, that had not been destroyed in the explosion but had continued to soak up oil. As a farewell, the zone was opened for eight hours on a single day. For the first time in eighteen months, the citizens had access to the heart of the town before it was erased.”
Huneault describes Post Mégantic as a “requiem to the victims,” a documentary narrative about life, death, the fragility of existence that he hopes will evoke for viewers of the work a “visceral sense of empathy, an appreciation based on introspection, imagination, and compassion.” His collaboration with the people and town of Lac-Mégantic will continue, as he returns “hopefully to find more light and healing.”