A new exhibit, co-sponsored by the Duke University Center for International Studies and the Magnum Foundation Emergency Fund, now on display at Duke University’s John Hope Franklin Center for Interdisciplinary and International Studies focuses on the work of documentary photographer and photojournalist, Zalmaï in documenting the Afghan diaspora.
Twelve years after the fall of the Taliban and international community’s intervention in Afghanistan, Afghans continue to be the most exiled people in the world. As the first entry point into Europe, Greece receives the largest numbers of migrants and asylum-seekers from African, Central Asia, and the Middle East.
Years of mismanaged migration and asylum policies have crippled Greece’s asylum system; procedures for refugee reception and human rights violation documentation are dysfunctional. Greece’s recent economic crisis has only exacerbated the situation, escalating the citizenry’s xenophobic sentiment to alarming rates of anti-immigrant related violence in the streets.
In 2011, Zalmaï traveled to Greece with a Magnum Foundation Emergency Fund grant to document the predicament of Afghans in Greece. In 2012, Zalmaï collaborated with Human Rights Watch to produce the multimedia feature Hate on the Streets: Xenophobic Violence in Greece.
Zalmaï was born in Kabul Afghanistan and left the country after the Soviet invasion in 1980 and immigrated to Switzerland, eventually becoming a Swiss citizen. He returned to Afghanistan after twenty-three years in exile to rediscover his homeland at a crucial moment of transition.
Zalmaï will spend a week-long residence at Duke, as part of an ongoing partnership between DUCIS and Magnum EF. A public reception will be held in the main Franklin Center gallery on Monday, September 17, beginning at 5:30pm. Zalmaî will also take part in a public conversation, part of DUCIS’s Globalization and the Artist series, on Tuesday, September 18, at noon, in room 240 of the Franklin Center. (Both events are public, but to reserve a lunch, please RSVP to Dan Smith [Email: dan.smith #AT# duke.edu ].) Zalmaï will speak on his broader career as a photojournalist and documentary photographer, at the Center for Documentary Studies, on September 18th at 7pm.