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    Disposable People: Contemporary Global Slavery

    Past exhibition
    Hayward Gallery Touring

    Installation View of Installation View of DISPOSABLE PEOPLE: CONTEMPORARY GLOBAL SLAVERY

    Eight Magnum photographers explored aspects of modern slavery through newly commissioned works in this Hayward Touring Exhibition

    In the ‘heroic’ era of photojournalism – roughly from the Spanish Civil War until the late 1960s – it seemed that a single image could define the greatest human dramas and catastrophes.

    Today, digital manipulation has undermined photography’s claim to veracity; video is available on everyone’s mobile, and artists and amateurs have taken over the territory of intimate revelation. What authority does documentary photography retain as a record of events and source of insight into the historical realities of the world? 

    The famous photo-agency Magnum, founded in 1947 to represent independent photojournalists who travelled the world in search of stories, remains the touch-stone of quality and seriousness in documentary photography. 

    Disposable People, curated by Mark Sealy, Director of Autograph ABP, presented newly commissioned photo-essays by eight internationally renowned Magnum photographers, all of whom have a strong commitment to human rights issues. Each explored an aspect of slavery in the world today.

    The photographers and what they documented:

    • Abbas – child labour in Bangladesh 
    • Ian Berry –  the effects of international trade rules on farmers in Ghana
    • Stuart Franklin – chattel slavery in Sudan
    • Jim Goldberg – the trafficking of young people from Eastern Europe
    • Susan Meiselas – the conditions of Indonesian women working in Singapore as domestic servants 
    • Paolo Pellegrin – Haitian ‘Restaveks’ (child slaves)
    • Chris Steele-Perkins – South Korean women who were held as sex slaves by the Japanese in World War II and are still seeking restitution
    • Alex Webb – Haitian cane workers held in organised bonded labour in the Dominican Republic

    A fully Illustrated publication was produced by Hayward Touring, Southbank Centre in association with Autograph ABP and included personal testimonies and texts by the photographers and Professor Kevin Bales, Director of the US-based ‘Free the Slaves’.

    Disposable People: Contemporary Global Slavery was a Hayward Touring exhibition in collaboration with Autograph ABP and Magnum Photos.

    The exhibition was supported by Arts Council England, MTV Europe Foundation, Christian Aid and Concern Worldwide.

    Exhibition venues

    This exhibition toured to the following venues:

    • Southbank Centre, London
    • The Gallery, Peninsula Arts, University of Plymouth
    • University of Northumbria, Newcastle
    • Tullie House Museum and Art Gallery, Carlisle
    • New Art Exchange, Nottingham
    • Aberystwyth Arts Centre, Aberystwyth
    Touring exhibitions

    Find out more about our touring exhibitions programme, including exhibitions on tour and available to visit or hire.