We invite you to a vernissage of Marcin Zaborowski works entitled NEWCOMERS, which will take place on January 17 (Wednesday) at 19.00 in the Level 4 gallery. Free invitations can be collected from the Philharmonic box office from 10 January from 13.00. The number of places is limited.
"Newcomers" is another edition of the documentary project "Rohingyas" which the author began in 2013. The project is a record of the history of the heroes and the fates of the persecuted Rohingya community, cruelly excluded from society.
Rohingyas is a Muslim ethnic minority. They live in the Burmese state of Arakan (Rakhine), located in the west of the country bordering Bangladesh. As far as their number is concerned, they give way to the Buddhist Arakans with whom they have been in hostile relations for several decades. Since 1982, under a Law on Nationalities, the Government of Burma officially does not recognize the Rohingya as a separate group. This stance was supported by the official census of 135 "nations" of Burma, which is considered controversial and methodologically questionable. It eventually ruled out Rohingyas from society. As an unrecognized ethnic group they are treated by the Burmese government as illegal immigrants, and consequently on the land they have been living for generations, they remain stateless.
The Rohingya persecution is systemic, and the last exodus, during which 630,000 Rohingya fled from Burma to Bangladesh, is a recurring chord in a drama that has been going on for four decades.
On Friday, August 25, 2017, a group of partisans attacked the Burmese police and army posts. 59 guerrillas and 12 members of Birma's security forces were killed in the operation. The Arakan Army of Rohing's Salvation, a newly formed organization, led the attack, which was headed by a Pakistan-born descendant of immigrants from the Arakan State - Atta Ullah. In one moment, the specter of the pogrom spread over the Rohingya people.
The retaliation of the Burmese forces, led with support from the Buddhist villagers, was immediate and on a scale unprecedented for years. The Rohingya villages were surrounded and shelled with mortars. Women were raped, adults and children were killed, people were beaten, their arms and legs were broken. All the settlements were set on fire, which were later razed to the ground. Their possessions, from rice to gold, were looted. Some Rohingya, escaping to nearby Bangladesh, saved themselves. The attack was mainly directed at civilians and was referred to by the UN as a "textbook example of ethnic cleansing".
Here the next drama started for many families. Boats crowded with people sank and the land road was mined by Burmese forces. Those who managed, found shelter in newly created camps. According to ISCG estimates, there are currently around 834,000 refugees living in them. In two months, the hills had turned into abstract "cities" reaching to the horizon. The Rohingya Exodus has become one of the largest humanitarian disasters of the last 20 years in the world.
Marcin Zaborowski is a documentary photographer cooperating with the magazine National Geographic Polska since 2009. His works have been published in El País, The Guardian, National Geographic Polska Magazine and doc!photomagazine. On air on Polish Radio Szczecin, he reported on a trip to Tibet and India where he photographed the 14th Dalai Lama. Marcin is a laureate of the Grand Press Photo (2014), and for many years he has also been awarded abroad, including in the International Photo- graphy Awards (2014, 2016, Moscow International Photo Awards (2014, 2016, 2017), Monochrome Photography Awards (2014), Monovisions Photography Awards (2017) and International Photographer of the Year (2016). He is author of individual photo exhibitions "The Monk", "Tibet", "The Unregistered" and "Newcomers". Currently, he is working on a long-term documentary project about the persecuted Muslim minority from South Asia known as the Rohingya.