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The Sights and Voices of Dispossession: The Fight for the Land and the Emerging Culture of the MST (The Movement of the Landless Rural Workers of Brazil)


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15 photographs and respective captions, selected by Else R P Vieira, from the book Terra: Struggle of the Landless, by the internationally renowned Sebastião Salgado, considered by many the best documentary photographer in the world today (published in English by Phaidon Press, 1998). The captions, by Salgado himself, weave a verbal narrative of the drama of Brazil’s dispossessed and migrants and of the various stages of the struggle for land. The visual and verbal narratives further tie with the musical one, made up of four songs and respective lyrics by Chico Buarque de Hollanda, a foremost Brazilian composer. The preface to the book is by José Saramago, the first writer in the Portuguese language to be awarded the Nobel Prize for literature. The book is dedicated to the millions of landless families in Brazil whose plight Salgado documented in 1996. The exhibition Terra, equally resulting from this work, took place in 1997 in 40 countries and over a hundred Brazilian cities. It also marked the beginning of the activities, at the University of Nottingham, of the project and website The Sights and Voices of Dispossession, together with the Colloquium Landless Voices, held in September 2001. As part of the activities related to the conclusion of the project, Sebastião Salgado was awarded the degree of Doutor Honoris Causa by the University of Nottingham in December 2002.

Editor’s Note:
Material related to Sebastião Salgado’s projects and major works can be found at his official website
A special website was set up by the New York Times as a tribute to Terra

Thanks to Sebastião Salgado for providing free use of his photographs and captions on this web site. For further information about the photographs and captions contact

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Landless Voices hosted by the
School of Modern Languages
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Project Director & Academic Editor: Else R P Vieira
Web Site Producer: John Walsh
Web Site created: January 2003
Last updated: February 16th 2012