Edition 2016

Fondation Manuel Rivera-Ortiz

Dominic Nahr


By gaining independence on July 9, 2011, the youngest nation of the world was born: the General Assembly of the United Nations welcomed South Sudan as its 193rd member, praising it as a model for security, peace, prosperity, friendship and cooperation between peoples. Five years after independence the UN reported on the desperate situation in South Sudan: 2.5 million people uprooted in fighting that started with a political impasse in mid-December 2013 between President Salva Kiir and former Vice President Riek Machar. More than 50,000 people have been killed, and nearly 100,000 civilians have sought shelter in camps run by the UN across the country. War, violence, famine, and disease have driven the East African nation into a humanitarian catastrophe.

Swiss photographer Dominic Nahr (born 1983) has followed these developments since 2010 on several extensive trips to South Sudan and experienced the dramatic change from hope and joy to horror and despair. He looks behind the facades of the political conflict and focuses on the people who are struggling to survive between warring parties and rival militias. His powerful images show mothers and children fleeing into swamps and savannahs, moving from island to island trying to hide from militias torching their villages, hoping to return home one day. By tracing the paths of families as they crisscross the country in search of safety—by spending time with the men inflicting this suffering—Nahr points to the dissonance between the original concept of a peaceful, united country and the reality its people are facing.

The exhibition of the Swiss Foundation for Photography, co-curated by Peter Pfrunder, Dominic Nahr and Nicolas Havette (MRO Foundation), is the first major presentation of this long-term project.

Exhibition curators: Peter Pfrunder, Dominic Nahr, and Nicolas Havette.
An exhibition of the Swiss Foundation for Photography, Winterthur, in collaboration with the Manuel Rivera-Ortiz Foundation, Arles.

  • Institutional partners

    • République Française
    • Région Provence Alpes Côté d'Azur
    • Département des Bouches du Rhône
    • Arles
    • Le Centre des monuments nationaux est heureux de soutenir les Rencontres de la Photographie d’Arles en accueillant des expositions dans l’abbaye de Montmajour
  • Main partners

    • Fondation LUMA
    • BMW
    • SNCF
    • Kering
  • Media partners

    • Arte
    • Lci
    • Konbini
    • Le Point
    • Madame Figaro
    • France Culture