Usually, art and science don’t go hand in hand. Often, art and science are unfortunately pitted against each other when both can compliment each other. That is the case with the Bangkok Art and Cultural Centre in Thailand. In the heart of smog-choked and traffic ridden capital, there is an oasis of art entwined with nature. For a city that seriously lacks some green space, it would seem unusual to find something that would showcase nature.
From February 8th to March 8th, the world-renowned photographer Sebastiao Salgado’s three masterpiece collections will be on display at the Bangkok Art and Cultural Centre. These three collections use the unique silver gelatinous prints which add an almost historic feel to Salgado’s photography despite the actual age of the photos. His “Workers” series focuses on workers from all over the world during the period from 1986–1992. There are several very powerful images on despairing oil workers and miners in this collection worth noting.
His following collection is “Exodus” which again has a human focus, specifically on migrants and refugees. He travelled across the world from 1993–1999 to showcase the determination of displaced people and their drive to make better lives for themselves.
The last collection is called “Genesis”. It was completed after Salgado returned from his “Migrants” series trip. Salgado was feeling very demoralized after witnessing the hardships of many and needed to see the beauty of the world. He followed through with this collection by capturing some of natures’ most beautiful landscapes and organisms by surveying the world for 7 years (2004-2011). The exhibition is divided into five geographical regions: Sanctuaries, Planet South, Africa, Amazonia and Pantanal, and Northern Spaces. His series also includes photography that captures indigenous people practicing their traditional lifestyles.
Salgado is strong believer in protecting the fragile planet as well as bringing awareness to climate change. He and his wife, Lelia have worked together to restore a small part of the native Atlantic forest in Brazil where they are both from. In 1998, they created the Institutio Terra and the restored land was turned into a nature reserve. The Instituto is dedicated to a mission of reforestation, conservation and environmental education.
One could easily argue that by documenting workers, migrants and the natural world through photography, Salgado contributes to conservation and science through his photography. If you are in Bangkok during his exhibition, head over to the Bangkok Arts and Cultural centre and take a look. You won’t be disappointed and it’s free.
Sebastião Salgado Genesis. (2017). International Centre for Photography. Retrieved from: https://www.icp.org/exhibitions/sebasti%C3%A3o-salgado-genesis
Bangkok Arts and Cultural Centre. (2017) .Sebastião Salgado: The World Through His Eyes. Retrieved from: http://en.bacc.or.th/event/Sebasti%C3%A3o-SalgadoThe-World-Through-His-Eyes.html
Instuituto Terra. (2017). About Us. Retrieved from: http://www.institutoterra.org/eng/conteudosLinks.phpid=22&tl=QWJvdXQgdXM=&sb=NQ==#.WKWs4_l941I