At MAR in Ravenna, Sebastião Salgado's Exodus exhibition on migration

From March 22 to June 2, 2024, the MAR Art Museum of the City of Ravenna is hosting the exhibition "Exodus - Humanity on the Way": the photographic journey of Brazilian reporter Sebastião Salgado chronicling contemporary migration across four continents.

In 1993 Sebastião Salgado began his photographic, physical and existential journey into the galaxy of migration. In six years the Brazilian reporter has traveled four continents with works capturing departures and landings, refugee camps where millions live an uncertain fate. Since then, the map of the world appears to have changed, but the exodus of entire populations is as relevant as ever, and the conditions of refugees or migrants represent a scenario that takes on increasingly global dimensions.

This journey will be recounted through the exhibition Exodus - Humanity on the Move, curated by Lélia Wanick Salgado, which brings together 180 photographs divided among the various geo-political sections of which the project is composed.

The first section, Migrants and Refugees: the Survival Instinct, deals specifically with the motivations that sadly unite refugees: poverty and violence, the dream of a better life, and hope.

The second section, The African Tragedy: a continent adrift, focuses on the trauma of suffering and despair of peoples deeply scarred by poverty, hunger, corruption, despotism and war despite the fact that Africa is a continent with an important history for humanity, in great ferment, rich in energy and vitality, as well as raw materials and natural wealth.

The third section, Latin America: rural exodus, urban unrest, chronicles a part of the world marked by the migration of tens of millions of peasants, driven by poverty, to urban areas such as Mexico City and São Paulo, surrounded by slums, where even privileged life is beset by violence.

The section Asia: the New Urban Face of the World focuses on the mass exodus from rural poverty to the creation of megacities where migrants live in precarious conditions while believing they have taken a step toward a better life. Closing the exhibition is a room devoted to portraits of children, representative of tens of millions more who can be found in the slums, refugee camps and rural settlements of Latin America, Africa, Asia and Europe. The uniqueness of these portraits lies in the fact that they have chosen to be photographed, choosing them the pose to assume in front of the great photojournalist’s camera, thus performing a proud act of self-determination of those who are the main victims of migratory phenomena, with no control over their own destiny.

The exhibition, organized by the Municipality of Ravenna-Assessorato alla Cultura e Mosaico and Assessorato all’ Immigrazione, Politiche e Cultura di Genere thanks to the contribution of Regione Emilia - Romagna, Fondazione del Monte di Bologna e Ravenna, Fondazione Cittalia Anci, isrealized in collaboration with Contrasto, which has been involved in promoting Sebastião Salgado’s work in Italy for years; it is part of the events of the Festival of Cultures scheduled in Ravenna from March 12 to July 2024 and symbolically opens on March 21, International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination.

The exhibition will be accompanied by workshops, lectures and a substantial workshop itinerary aimed at schools and families.

“The photographs we will find in the exhibition were taken many years ago,” say Mayor Michele de Pascale and Culture Councillor Fabio Sbaraglia, “but they almost seem to belong to a suspended time. In fact, many of the questions they raise for us still remain relevant today and unfortunately unanswered. They are questions that once again highlight how art is never an expression as an end in itself, but always reflects and recounts, by assonance or contrast, and through the filter of the artist’s sensitivity, the complexity of the human and social context of its time. Here, then, that worlds and phenomena apparently so distant are actually very close, especially for a city like Ravenna, which of contamination and welcome has made an identity trait. We are certain that this exhibition, for all those who will have the good fortune and pleasure of visiting it, will represent a careful and profound look at worlds and humanity that can no longer be ignored.”

At MAR in Ravenna, Sebastião Salgado's Exodus exhibition on migration
At MAR in Ravenna, Sebastião Salgado's Exodus exhibition on migration

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