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
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
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.