This exhibition will be presented in the Frieda and Roy Furman Gallery on June 10–18 and is free and open to the public.
The desperate flight of refugees and asylum seekers from unending violence and abuse in countries such as Syria, Afghanistan, Iraq, and Eritrea, and their limited chance to secure adequate work, housing, schooling, and legal status in neighboring countries, has led an estimated one million people to flee to Europe in the past year.
The fear of what an influx of asylum seekers could mean for their societies has caused many governments in Europe and elsewhere to close the gates and pursue beggar-thy-neighbor policies that are the negation of shared solidarity and responsibility. The fear of more terrorist attacks has moved many governments around the world to follow the excesses of the post-9/11 response by the United States and many politicians to scapegoat Muslims or refugees.
Over the past year, photographer Zalmaï accompanied teams of Human Rights Watch researchers carrying out on-the-ground investigations in multiple countries and documented the crisis as it was unfolding.
Born in Kabul, Afghanistan, Zalmaï fled his country after the Soviet invasion in 1979 and found refuge in Lausanne, Switzerland, where he became a Swiss citizen. Pursuing his passion for photography, Zalmaï took on combined studies at the School of Photography of Lausanne and the Professional Photography Training Center of Yverdon. In 1989, he began to work as a freelance photographer, traveling the world and eventually returning to Afghanistan, where he continues to document the plight of the Afghan people. His work has been published in The New York Times Magazine, Time, The New Yorker, Harper’s, and Newsweek. He has also worked for a number of nongovernmental organizations, including Human Rights Watch, the International Committee of the Red Cross, the United Nations Office On Drugs and Crime, and United Nations High Commission for Refugees.