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Refugee camp at Benako, Tanzania
Refugee camp at Benako, Tanzania, 1994. © Sebastião Salgado

Video briefs: Salgado discusses his work | Additional information

Epic Sebastião Salgado show at the Berkeley Art Museum
8 February 2002

BERKELEY - An epic exhibition by photographer Sebastião Salgado chronicling the almost otherworldly existence of displaced people around the world is the focus of a new show at the Berkeley Art Museum. Concurrent with this exhibition, Salgado, an acclaimed photographer and human rights activist, will spend a week in residence on campus starting Monday, Feb. 11.

On February 11 at Wheeler Auditorium, Salgado delivered an Avenali Lecture that was sponsored by the Townsend Center for Humanities. The talk was of such interest that the auditorium was filled and several thousand people were unable to get into the event. For those who missed it, the entire one hour and 23 minute lecture and subsequent interview of Salgado by Journalism School Dean Orville Schell can be viewed via webcast.

On February 13, Salgado participated in a discussion with a panel chaired by Candace Slater, Director of the Townsend Center for the Humanities. This discussion also can be viewed via webcast. The panel included Professors Michael Watts (Geography and Institute of International Studies), Tim Clark (History of Art), and Nancy Scheper-Hughes (Anthropology).


"My big hope is the person who comes out of the show is not the same as the one who came in."

-- Sebastião Salgado


Through March 24, the Berkeley Art Museum will be exhibiting Salgado's "Migrations" show, a monumental record of a world on the move. Since it opened last month, some 1,200 people a week have attended.

"Anyone has to visit it twice - once to see the pictures and once to see the faces of the people looking at the pictures," says Slater, a professor of Brazilian literature. Students especially are coming to see the work, she notes, and most view the pictures in silence. "You can see in their faces anger, amazement and incomprehension."

"Migrations" chronicles the exodus of refugees, exiles, orphans, homeless families and boat people, all of whom have been forced from their homes due to economic pressures, natural disasters and explosive population growth. Latin Americans entering the United States, Jews leaving the former Soviet Union, Africans traveling into Europe and Bosnians seeking shelter in Croatia are among the travels documented by Salgado, a native of Brazil. The exhibition features more than 300 black-and-white photographs and is cosponsored by the Graduate School of Journalism.

With more than 100 million migrants in the world today – twice the number there were a decade ago – Salgado’s work speaks to the scale of mass migration.

"His work really allows us to think about what's been happening in the world and then have conversations about our own responsibility," says Ken Light, curator of the Center for Photography at the Graduate School of Journalism, where 15 photos from the "Migrations" series are on display. "He sees his role as photographer as a way to spark people's conversation."

At the Berkeley Art Museum, UC Berkeley graduate students from the Geography Department, the School of Journalism, and the Art History Department will offer guided tours of the "Migrations" exhibit on Thursdays at 12:15 p.m. and Sundays at 2 p.m. unless another program is scheduled. Contact the Berkeley Art Museum at 510-642-0808 for further information.

Additional information:

Church gate Station
Church Gate Station. Bombay, India, 1995. © Sebastião Salgado