Haratin, the mask of modern slavery – portraits

by Luca Catalano Gonzaga

These portraits, by Luca Catalano Gonzaga, have been taken 50 years after Richard Avedon shot the portrait of the enslaved William Casby, entitled “Born in Slavery”. They are about the Haratin of Mauritania, descendant of the Black Moors, the historically enslaved population “owned” by the White Moors, a powerful minority. Although “Haratin” means literally “those who have been freed”, these women and men still live in slavery, generation after generation, treated by everyone else as ‘property’: something only worth buying, selling, trading or destroying. Living in villages in the countryside, they work a land which is not theirs and don’t receive a salary or any form of compensation. At the villages of Daguag, Jedida, Tejala (Brakna District), Mbeida (Gorgol District), many Haratin men and women who have been invited by the leader of the village wait their turn to have their picture taken inside a hut, anonymously. (text by Luca Catalano Gonzaga).

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A selection of photos from the archive of Luca Catalano Gonzaga is available as collector’s prints. The goal of print selling is to contribute to the realization of the photographic projects of Witness Image that narrate the great transformations of our time.