Afternoon Sessions / The Brothers
2.00pm / ‘The End of Mirage’
Afghan-Swiss photographer Zalmai speaks about his experiences photographing the refugee crisis in Europe.
Photographer Zalmaï is an Afghan political refugee, exiled to Switzerland. When he talks about his work, it is closely linked to his own experiences.
“I was 15, I didn’t know the word ‘refugee’. I didn’t know what a border was. I had hardly ever left Kabul and my sheltered life there. The first time I was away from home without my parents was this harrowing journey across the mountains. On the path, we stuck together, creating ties with others, as if to create some sort of surrogate family”. Because, “the worst nightmare, would be to find yourself alone. When these people find someone along the way who speaks their language, they are overjoyed!”
While getting to know each other, Zalmaï translated the words of Armin who is from Kashan, Iran. Armin has been in Switzerland for seven months and is talking about the boat destined for Greece and the terrifying journey that he overcame thanks to the protection of his older brother. “That’s just like me”, Zalmai says, troubled. “The difference is that, in the 80s, Afghan refugees were heroes, welcomed with open arms.”
2.00pm / Magnum Foundation
While many of the projects we support through Magnum Foundation’s programming arise from the journalistic instinct to expose and interrogate social injustices, we believe that rigorous explorations of positive responses to social problems are equally essential. In this current climate of increased sectarian conflict and rampant xenophobia, it is imperative to point to instances of people coming together. Critical perspectives on what works locally, in communities around the world, offer points of access for tackling issues of global relevance.
The Magnum Foundation What Works project brings together nine photographers from Iran, Ukraine, Slovenia, Syria, India, Ecuador, China, and the Philippines to explore tolerance through rigorous and creative visual narratives. Collectively, the projects address bridge-building amongst groups that might otherwise be in conflict.
What Works is a collective project created by members of Magnum Foundation’s network of regional photographers who have received training through our Photography and Human Rights Program.