As one of the main cultural projects of the 2016 European Green Capital, the Museum and Galleries of Ljubljana is presenting the momentous exhibitionGenesis, a project by the world-renowned photographer Sebastião Salgado.
Having initially worked as an economist, Sebastião Salgado (born in Brazil in 1944) began his career as a professional photographer in 1973 in Paris. He collaborated with the Sygma, Gamma and Magnum Photos agencies until 1994, when he and Lélia Wanick Salgado, the curator and designer of all his exhibitions and books, formed Amazonas Images. Salgado’s earlier long-term series, i.e. Other Americas (1985),Sahel-l’Homme en Détresse (1986), Workers (1993) and Migrations (2000), explored the living conditions and cultural resistance of peoples; the devastating effects of the drought in the Sahel region of Africa; the relentless working conditions endured by men and women around the world; and the populations displaced for different reasons.
In Genesis (2013), Salgado has chosen to move his main interest away from people and focus on the pristine beauty of the earth and those living in harmony with it. During his travels across the globe between 2004 and 2011, he documented arctic and desert landscapes, tropical rainforests, marine and other wildlife, and communities still living according to ancestral traditions. Through these photographs, Salgado pays homage to the fragile planet he believes we must all protect.
The exhibition consisting of 245 spectacular black-and-white photographs is divided into five geographical regions: Planet South, Sanctuaries, Africa (on view at the City Museum); and Northern Spaces along with Amazonia and Pantanal (on view at Jakopič Gallery). The expert project managers at the MGML, the Director Blaž Peršin and the Senior Curator Marija Skočir, decided to put Genesis on display at two of MGML’s venues to accommodate the exhibition in its entirety. However, presenting this outstanding photographer is not the only objective being pursued by MGML: the presentation of the photographer’s career and his conservation efforts is aimed to amplify the project’s overall message.
Since the 1990s, the Salgados have put much effort into restoring part of the Atlantic Forest in Brazil. In 1998, they created Instituto Terra, an environmental NGO dedicated to the mission of reforestation, conservation and education. That is why Genesis, referred to by Salgado himself as his »love letter to the Planet«, has been a source of inspiration for the conservation initiative My love letter to the Planet (#lovelettertotheplanet), which provides an opportunity for exhibition visitors to take part in several campaigns on both local and global levels: these range from eliminating invasive alien species to cleaning the environment. Visitors will also be able to turn the symbolic tree in the City Museum of Ljubljana green with their own »love letters to the Planet«.
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