Magnum Photographer Eli Reed’s Project Documents “Lost Boys” of Sudan

Sept. 24, 2013

"Kakuma Refugee Camp, Kenya." August 2001, printed 2013. Inkjet print. © Eli Reed / Magnum Photos.

"Kakuma Refugee Camp, Kenya." August 2001, printed 2013. Inkjet print. © Eli Reed / Magnum Photos.

AUSTIN, Texas — The Harry Ransom Center presents “Eli Reed: The Lost Boys of Sudan,” an exhibition of photographs by Eli Reed (b. 1946), Magnum photographer and clinical professor of journalism at The University of Texas at Austin.The project documents the lives of some of the more than 20,000 Sudanese boys forced to flee after their families were massacred or enslaved during the Second Sudanese Civil War.

The exhibition contains a dozen photographs and runs from Oct. 22 to Dec. 8 in the north atrium of the Ransom Center, a humanities research library and museum at The University of Texas at Austin. Called the “Lost Boys” by aid workers, the Sudanese boys, some as young as 8 years old, wandered the equatorial wilderness between Sudan and Ethiopia for years on foot.

Those who survived starvation and disease eventually reached a refugee camp in Kakuma, Kenya, where more than 3,000 of them awaited resettlement through a United Nations partnership with the U.S. State Department. In 2001, Reed documented their journey as they left the camp, adjusted to life in the United States and acclimated to a starkly different culture full of formidable challenges.

The exhibition is organized by curators Jessica S. McDonald and Roy L. Flukinger. During the week of the exhibition’s opening, the Ransom Center hosts the symposium “Magnum Photos into the Digital Age,” October 25-27, which brings together photographers, curators and historians to discuss the evolution of Magnum since the agency’s founding in 1947.

Additional photographs by Reed from his 1995 series “Rwandan Refugees in Tanzania” will be on view in the Ransom Center Galleries as part of the larger exhibition “Radical Transformation: Magnum Photos into the Digital Age,” opening Sept. 10 and featuring more than 400 photographs, books, magazines, films and videos.

Reed joined the faculty of the University in January 2005. He has been associated with the Magnum Photos agency since 1983 and became a full member in 1988. His early projects focus on political upheaval and social justice in El Salvador, Guatemala, Haiti and Panama, and in 1982 he was a Nieman Fellow at Harvard University, where he studied political science, urban affairs and the prospects for peace in Central America. He has since photographed around the world while persistently addressing political, social and racial issues in the United States. Reed is the author of the acclaimed books “Beirut: City of Regrets” (1988) and “Black in America” (1997). In 2009 he delivered a four-part lecture and multimedia presentation at the Nobel Peace Center in Oslo, Norway, for the opening night of the exhibition "Fra King til Obama."

“Eli Reed: The Lost Boys of Sudan” will be on view in the Ransom Center’s north atrium on Monday through Friday between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m., with extended Thursday hours until 7 p.m. On Saturdays and Sundays the Center is open from noon to 5 p.m.

High-resolution press images from the exhibition are available.

For more information, contact: Alicia Dietrich, Harry Huntt Ransom Humanities Research Center, 512 232 3667;  Jennifer Tisdale, Harry Huntt Ransom Humanities Research Center, 512-471-8949.