The Italian Cultural Institute in London is hosting “Desperate Crossing”, a photography exhibition by Paolo Pellegrin and Mohamed Keita.
The show runs from 2 December 2016 until Tuesday 24 January 2017 and focuses on the dramatic journey of thousands of migrants fleeing from war, famine and poverty, desperately in search of a better future in Europe.
The photographs come from two different yet complementary eyes: that of photojournalist Paolo Pellegrin and photographer Mohamed Keita.
Paolo Pellegrin has documented this terrible “journey of hope” in a series of reportages, one of which published in September 2015 by the New York Times Magazine with the title “Desperate Crossing”. Mohamed Keita has first-hand experience of it, being himself a migrant. Pellegrin’s photographs show the terrible journey, while those of Keita are, in a way, the consequence of it.
Escaped at the age of 14 from his country, Ivory Coast, to survive the civil war that had claimed his parents’ lives, Keita has wandered, for more than three years, on a journey around the African continent before embarking toward Italy. From Sicily, where he arrived, he then reached Rome, where he slept for four months at the Roma Termini Station.
Through photography Keita has built part of his identity as a survivor, and managed to find a possible professional venue. His camera is often focused on those who, like him, are veterans of this harsh odyssey and are forced to live in perilous and inhumane conditions.
The expert eye of Pellegrin finds, therefore, an ideal completion in young Keita’s perspective, against the background of a country – Italy – engaged in the difficult task of welcoming and integrating the overwhelming number of immigrants arriving every day along its shores.