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Alessandro Grassani March 12, 2012

Posted by Geoffrey Hiller in Mongolia.
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Ulaan Baator, Mongolia 2011

Alessandro Grassani (b. 1977, Italy) graduated in photography from the Riccardo Bauer Institute in Milano. His work has been published in Time Magazine and The Sunday Times and exhibited in personal and collect shows including at the Photography Festival of Arles. In 2010 he began a long-term project called, “Environmental Migrants: The last illusion” documenting  life of people worldwide forced to migrate because of climate change. He was awarded at Premio Internacional de Fotografia Humanitaria Luis Valtuena (First prize, 2011) IPA, International Photography Awards (Third prize, 2011),the  SOFA Global World Photo Award (special mention, 2011), and the Memorial Mario Giacomelli (special mention, 2010). Alessandro is represented by Luz Photo.

About the Photograph:

“This photograph is part of the Environmental Migrants project. It was shot under the staircase where the Jigjjav family live. Jargalsaikhan a former shepherd, sits with his family: his wife, two daughters (one of them, Dyun Erdene, 26 year old, is beside him in the picture) and his four year old nephew playing on the stairs. His wife is an apartment guard and so they  live in a space under the staircase in the building where my wife works. The family  moved to the city after the Dzud -the more extreme Mongolian winter – killed their 150 sheep. Now, they live off the meager earnings brought in by his wife, who works as an apartment guard in the building. She is the only one with a job.”

“Mongolia is an extremely poor country. Twenty percent of its three million inhabitants live on little more then a dollar a day and thirty percent suffer from malnutrition. The herdsmen from the countryside are forced to abandon the rural and isolated areas where they used to live. They arrive in the city after a lifetime spent in the pastures and are untrained to take on any kind of work and end up living a life of hardship in the slum of the city which, in the past twenty years has rapidly grown without any urban planning, running water or electricity.”

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