THE EUROPEAN DREAM by Alessandro Penso

Exhibition from February 16 to March 4 | Institut Français de Birmanie

Opening on Friday 16 February | 8pm

The European Dream,

By Alessandro Penso

For seven years, Alessandro Penso has been photographing the conditions of refugees, asylum seekers and migrants in Europe. He has aimed to shed a light on the consequences of attitudes of closure and xenophobia around the issue of immigration in Europe upon some of the world’s most vulnerable people.

He started by photographing situations that were largely in the shadows – people held in detention for long periods of time; makeshift camps; the exploitation of migrant workers; borders transformed into fortresses – in Italy, France, the Spanish enclave of Melilla, Malta and Bulgaria. In Greece, itself facing crippling economic crisis, he found migrants and refugees pushed to the very margins of society, living in desperate conditions and risking their lives trying to reach other European countries in the hope of better reception there. 

In 2015, in the face of the biggest mass movement of people in Europe since World War II, he continued to document tragedies at sea, the journey and relocation of vulnerable people through the Balkans, and the conditions of people left stranded when countries changed their approach to immigration and closed suddenly their borders.

Alessandro Penso is an Italian freelance documentary photographer. In 2014, he won First Prize – General News Singles in the World Press Photo contest and in 2015 the Story of the Year award by Time Magazine. His works has been widely published in The New York Times, The International Herald Tribune, TIME, The Washington Post, Businessweek, Stern, The Guardian, BBC, Human La Repubblica, Vanity Fair Italy, etc…