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Exhibition "Trabalhadores" (Workers) by Sebastião Salagado
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11/08/2014

The photographs taken throughout the 1980s and early 90s, still cause the same impact when they were published in book form and exhibited in the most important cities in the world. Mixture of reportage and art, the exhibition “Trabalhadores” ("Workers") by Sebastião Salgado, is now on at Ecomuseu de Itaipu, Foz do Iguaçu.

The exhibition brings 150 photos from a series of 29 reports about manual labor – the second testimony of the photographer himself – “the end of the great Industrial Revolution.” Salgado has recorded workers from 25 countries, mainly of the Third World, but also from France, Poland, Russia and even of The United States. It was these stories that made Salgado what he never wanted to be: a celebrity.

"My work is not art and I certainly do not think of myself as a photographer: it's reportage," says the photographer, who was in Foz do Iguaçu at the exhibition opening on June 6. "I am first and foremost a journalist," reaffirms.

“Hells” (“Infernos”)

His working method, however, is of an artist. Every picture of you, always in black and white, requires patience and hard work. He repeated, laughing, someone's comment that accompanied the production of some of the photos: "Sebastião, watching you work is like contemplating how the grass grows."

That's how he got fantastic results in “infernos industriais” ( "industrial hells") that include the mining of Serra Pelada, Brazil, the sulfur mines in Indonesia, the ship dismantling yards in Bangladesh, tuna fishing in Sicily, the digging of irrigation canals in India, a fetid slaughterhouse in Dakota, in the South of The United States and the colossal fighting fires in oil wells in Kuwait, among other jobs and countries.

In Europe

In the mid-1990s, after the publication of the book “Trabalhadores” ("Workers"), which is sold out in Brazil, the exhibition took place in almost all of Europe. In Madrid, Spain, two thousand people a day lined up to see the exhibition at the National Library for six weeks.

When the exhibition arrived at the Royal Festival Hall, in London, the newspaper "The Independent" rated Salgado’s photographs as "irrepressibly romantic" and stressed that they record "workers of the world," those "who still work with the hand and the sweat of their brow."

Genesis

Besides the exhibition "Trabalhadores" (“Workers” ) in Foz do Iguacu,  Sebastião Salgado has another exhibition showing in Brazil - "Genesis", a collection of 245 images captured in eight years traveling to the most extreme and amazing places on the planet.

The exhibition has already taken place in Rio de Janeiro, Sao Paulo, Santo André, Porto Alegre and is currently on show in Belo Horizonte, until August 24 at the Palace of Arts.

Birthday

The exhibition at the Ecomuseu, an initiative of Itaipu, sponsored by Renault and Renault's Brazil Institute, is celebrating the 40th anniversary of the plant (May 17) and the 100 years old of Foz do Iguaçu (the birthday was on June 10 ).

According to Paulino Motter, the project coordinator and adviser to the Brazilian director- general of Itaipu, the exhibition pays homage to "the more than 100,000 workers that were involved in the construction of the plant and that deserve to be remembered on this anniversary."

Tickets and timetables

The exhibition will be open until September 7, a period that covers the school holidays and the World Cup. The hours of operation are Tuesday through Sunday, from 8:30 a.m to 4:30 p.m.

The entry to the Itaipu Ecomuseu is free for residents of Foz do Iguaçu and other municipalities in the area of influence of Itaipu (29 municipalities of Paraná Basin 3).

Visitors from other locations or foreigners who purchase tickets for the special visit to the Itaipu Dam earn a complimentary ticket to the Ecomuseu.