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John Vink – Refugees


The story stutters sometimes and not always for the happiness of all. A stone’s throw from the Maison de l’Image Documentaire in Sète, Môle Saint-Louis, a historical relic of the port of Sète, commemorates in its own way, with two modest plaques, the departure in nineteen hundred and thirty seven of 1599 Spanish refugees for the Mexico, the only country to offer them hospitality, and that of 4551 survivors of the Shoah who set sail on July 11, 1947 for Palestine aboard the Exodus.

The Mediterranean is still there, bathing the harbor of the singular island, but many here do not look at it anymore as one could could look at a postcard, but as a deadly border where 30.000 migrants have lost their lives during the last eight years.

The Aquarius, the now famous ship, will end his career in Marseille for failing to continue his mission to save all those who risk the fatal crossing, not knowing too much, in case they survive, what their future will be.

We have decided, since this problem of refugees, migrants and other pariahs does not date from yesterday, to show the precious photographic work of John Vink who, from the eighties until the dawn of the year two thousand, has crisscrossed the world to document the fate of refugees with rare precision and stubbornness. From the forced departure of their country, to the arrival and the attempt to rebuild a “normal” life. It is then the whole process of this uprooting which appears to us in a respectful, dignified and talented iconography.

We will show at the MID a selection of John Vink’s images and we will debate with local and national actors about the refugee issue.

This exhibition is organized in partnership with Médecins Sans Frontières.


John Vink – Refugees
February 1st – April 27th, 2019
House of Documentary Image – CéTàSee
17 rue Lacan
34200 Sète


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