Standing in the permanent exhibition space of the Nelson Mandela Foundation, the images floating next to the research room are beautiful but the subject matter, dark. In total there are 11 photographs depicting different scenes in different locations where conflict has ravaged a country. A child wearing a gas mask, a group of women clad in hijab, a boy playing with a tire in the street. These images remind us of the marks of war, in particular the effects that it has had on education, and how people living in this world’ lives were interrupted.
The exhibition is called “The Frontline “and the artist is Diego Ibarra Sánchez. Sánchez is a Spanish photographer, filmmaker and educator based in Lebanon. He assumes a very critical stance regarding the use of images in our society, defining these historical moments as indicative of a “lobotomised era of 'tourism' on the other’s pain”.
In his work, he endeavours to ensure that photography is no longer merely a window allowing a view on what happens in the world, but becomes a means to raise questions and generate thoughts. Sánchez’ observation goes beyond the frontline, documenting and showing us what remains after the bombings, the killings and the battles: a humanity that has nothing left beyond its life.
He has received multiple awards:, among them
- Award of Excellence by Pictures of the Year International 2021 for “THAWRA: Lebanese
- Revolution” in Impact 2020 (Protests and Movement category)
- "La Buena Prensa" 2021 (Yazidi Genocide),
- The New York Times best pictures of 2020,
- Getty Images Grant 2020,
- the 2nd place Photographer of the year POY Latam 2019;
- Best pictures of 2018 by the New York Times and two honourable mentions at the Photographers Association (NPPA ) for "Dispatches from Mosul" (International News Picture Story, National Press)
The Nelson Mandela Foundation in collaboration with the Spanish Embassy is hosting exhibition “The Frontline” from 1 October 2021 to 1 December 2021.
Sánchez’s work has been exhibited all over the world and highlighted during the screening nights of Visa pour L´image several times. Needless to say that this exhibition is a must-see, so make an appointment to view the exhibition before the 1 st of December 2021.
Contact Ann-Young Maharaj bookings@nelsonmandela,org