Art is divine


By Alessandra Cenna



Rome - Italy

October 1, 2021 - February 13, 2022



Sebastião Salgado

Photo © Sebastião Salgado/Contrasto

Rio Negro. State of Amazonas, Brazil, 2019.

Photo © Sebastião Salgado/Contrasto

Mount Roraima. Roraima State, Brazil, 2018

Photo © Sebastião Salgado/Contrasto

Young Ashaninka Woman. State of Acre, Brazil, 2016 




The Maxxi Museum in Rome celebrates the great Brazilian photographer, Sebastião Salgado with a magnificent exhibition entitled “Amazônia”.


An economist by training, Sebastião Salgado left the small town of Vitoria in Espirito Santo in 1969 to pursue a doctorate in economics in Paris.

Intimately linked to France, he discovered photography there and organized his first exhibition devoted to La Courneuve, the City of 4000 social housing, an extreme and popular city where he lived when he arrived in France.

His friend, Henri Cartier Bresson guided and helped him in his search to become such a talented spokesperson for social and human photography.


The Roman exhibition, of which his wife, Lélia Wanik Salgado is curator and scenographer, presents more than 200 images, accompanied by immense projections that retrace his exploration journey in the Amazon.


For more than six years, he turned his lenses towards the incredible beauty of this aspect of Brazilian nature, focusing his attention on the forests, rivers, mountains and the lifestyles of ten ethnic groups who live in these unspoiled places. The Amazon rain forest occupies an area larger than the entire European Union and its river, the Rio, crosses nine South American countries.


He borrows small boats or helicopters to crisscross the Brazilian Amazon in order to capture all the magnificence of the wilderness and the fragility of its ecosystem that Indian communities struggle to preserve on their ancestral lands.


According to the Brazilian Constitution of 1988, it is forbidden to approach indigenous tribes who are the only ones allowed to enter and leave the forest. Still, Salgado has managed to photograph tribes about whom it has only been known for a few years. The Amazon is not only an invaluable natural heritage, but also has an incredible cultural wealth with its three hundred different peoples, their languages, their traditions and their rituals.


Jean-Michel Jarre has created music for this exhibition that uses the sounds of the Amazon, capturing on site the rustling of trees, the cries of animals, the songs of birds, waterfalls, rivers and rain. Music was also a common thread for Salgado because the Indians sing very often, except during the hunt because the silence then takes on all its importance.

The experience is immersive, as it is presented in spaces reminiscent of the "ocas", the dwellings of the natives in the heart of the jungle. The visitors' route follows in the footsteps of the photographer discovering the landscapes and tropical storms to then focus on the local populations.

Photo © Sebastião Salgado/Contrasto

Ashaninka family. State of Acre, Brazil, 2016  

Photo © Sebastião Salgado/Contrasto

Yawanawá Indian. State of Acre, Brazil, 2016  

Photo © Sebastião Salgado/Contrasto

Rio Jaú. State of Amazonas, Brazil, 2019

Salgado offers us impressive images that feed the debate on the future of the Amazon rain forest and therefore of humanity vis-à-vis the ecosystem.


An exhibition more relevant than ever, with the urgent need to take concrete action to preserve our universe, of which this forest is the green lung.


Photo © Sebastião Salgado/Contrasto

Young Suruwahá Women. State of Amazonas, Brazil, 2017

Sebastião Salgado :  Amazônia

Musée Maxxi Museo Nazionale delle Arti  del XXI secolo 

- Rome - Italie 

until February 13, 2022 

Photo © Sebastião Salgado/Contrasto

Anavilhanas, ‘wooded islands of the Río Negro. State of Amazonas, Brazil, 2009