"The Gift" (1998)

"The Gift," 1998
Public Intervention, Stockholm, Sweden
© Alfredo Jaar, courtesy Galerie Lelong, New York.

"In the case of Rwanda, I followed the tragedy from the beginning. I was outraged at how we were told this was happening. Yesterday, 35,000 bodies were recovered; they were floating on the Kagera River. 35,000 bodies, and it was just a five-line story on page seven. "I have to go," I thought, "there is something I have to say about this." It was the most horrific experience in my life. We went to gather evidence, myself and one assistant. We spent time talking to people, photographing the situation. We accumulated probably 3,500 images of the most horrific things- so much so that when I got back to New York, I didn’t want to look at them." - Alfredo Jaar ...

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"In the case of Rwanda, I followed the tragedy from the beginning. I was outraged at how we were told this was happening. Yesterday, 35,000 bodies were recovered; they were floating on the Kagera River. 35,000 bodies, and it was just a five-line story on page seven. "I have to go," I thought, "there is something I have to say about this." It was the most horrific experience in my life. We went to gather evidence, myself and one assistant. We spent time talking to people, photographing the situation. We accumulated probably 3,500 images of the most horrific things- so much so that when I got back to New York, I didn’t want to look at them."

- Alfredo Jaar

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