Exodus: An Exhibition of Photographs by Sebastiao Salgardo  

In the darkroom
of Brazillian photographer Sebastiao Salgardo sensitivity to light as well as life creates a magical chemistry. He has spent a lifetime devoted to photographing people. Poor people, without power but rich in culture and powerfully determined.

Photographs taken by Salgardo, in over 40 countries over the past decade capture the mass movements of people across the globe, which has become a feature of contemporary life. 'Exodus', records the struggles of refugees.

In one memorable work a vast flat almost treeless plain is filled with makeshift shelters, made from cotton, canvas and cardboard. Amongst these walk and live hundreds of thousands of people. In less than three days over 100,000 Rwandan refugees formed this camp at Benako, Tanzania, in 1994. They were displaced as their homes were torn apart in political struggles that saw Hutu led gangs murder over a million ethnic Tutsi in Rwanda.

Smoke from cooking fires and dust from the movement of feet creates a haze across the scene. In the middle of this chaos of humanity, is a man at pedal powered sewing machine repairing cloth. He is focussed on his task and fills this desperate scene with dignity, humanity and hope.

This is but one description from over 300 images on display in this monumental exhibiton. However, each image is but a token for the almost unimaginable 30 million people, mainly women and children thought by the UN to be displaced from their homes due to famine, natural disasters but most often fighting.

Sabastiao Salgardo does not pretend to be an impartial observer. He sees his images as being important tools to educate others and create a mood of change. He is an activist photographer, documenting the circumstances of each image and chronicling the disastrous effects of events and policies.

Salgardo is a master craftsman, each image is a work of frightening beauty. Compassion, humanity, and a search for change are inseparable to his photographic art.

To see this exhibition is to look through the eyes of those he photographs. Through these eyes of struggle and hope, you will see your own life reflected. Be warned this may cause change.

Bunkamura Museum of Art

Through October 20