«Landless» is a project that stems from the need to remember and bear witness.
Davide Vignati revisits his extensive archive, with thousands of shots taken during his 15-year-long career as a humanitarian worker in conflict areas. His pictures show people fleeing poverty, violence and war, with no land to return to or to live on. This is a visual journey with a landless humanity: migrants, displaced, refugees and peoples living under occupation, as well as armed groups, fighters, guerrillas and revolutionaries who picked up arms to fight for a homeland long longed-for but denied.
The photos track large part of modern humanitarian crisis. From Palestine and Kurdistan to Syria, on to Iraq, Libya, Egypt, Jordan, Sri Lanka, Myanmar, Congo, Guinea, Sudan, Ethiopia, Mali, Niger and Peru, Vignati captures snapshots of peoples defeated by history, of persecuted minorities, of men and women stripped of everything, including of their own identity.
In selecting the photographs for this project, every attempt has been made to avoid exposing the viewer to the gore of war, while at the same time showing the devastating consequences of those caught in its midst. Simplify put, in contexts of humanitarian crisis people suffer and people die – including those that work to bring assistance. But even in the midst of violence there is room for compassion, and this is reflected in some images.
While «Landless» follows in the footsteps of the craft of photojournalism, it emphasizes bearing witness over aesthetics. Before being a photographer, Vignati is a humanitarian worker. His are snapshots taken in the context of humanitarian crises while performing his work, often with the aim of building a connection with victims and fighters alike, so the exposition walks a fine line between private archive and public show.
In «Landless», Vignati uses photography to contribute to shape the collective visual memory of conflicts and humanitarian crises in the new millennium. He strives to bring the public closer to the suffering of his subjects using the raw, direct style of the eyewitness, aware of the fact that every testimony is inescapably personal and subjective. His pictures aim to raise awareness as a premise for action: every shot is a call to the viewer to reach out and help one another. Every image offers new depth and meaning from which lessons can be drawn, working towards a more humane future.