World Press Photo in Toronto and Chicoutimi

October 3, 2019 at 10:30 am  •  Posted in Exhibitions, News & Events by

Crying Girl on the Border
© John Moore, Getty Images

The 2019 World Press Photo exhibition is still on tour in Canada. If you haven’t yet had a chance to see the exhibition, it’s on view at the Allen Lambert Galleria in Toronto through October 23 and at La Pulperie in Chicoutimi from October 18 to November 10.

World Press Photo of the Year: John Moore’s Crying Girl on the Border

Immigrant families had rafted across the Rio Grande from Mexico and were then detained by US authorities. Sandra Sanchez said that she and her daughter had been traveling for a month through Central America and Mexico before reaching the US to seek asylum. The Trump Administration had announced a ‘zero tolerance’ policy at the border under which immigrants caught entering the US could be criminally prosecuted. As a result, many apprehended parents were separated from their children, often sent to different detention facilities. After this picture was published worldwide, US Customs and Border Protection confirmed that Yanela and her mother had not been among the thousands who had been separated by US officials. Nevertheless, public outcry over the controversial practice resulted in President Donald Trump reversing the policy on 20 June.

The Migrant Caravan © Pieter Ten Hoopen, Agence Vu/Civilian Act / People run to a truck that has stopped to give them a ride, outside Tapanatepec, Mexico, on 30 October 2018. Some drivers charged to give travelers a lift for part of the way, but most offered services free as a sign of support.

World Press Photo Story of the Year: Pieter ten Hoopen’s The Migrant Caravan

During October and November 2018, thousands of Central American migrants joined a caravan heading to the United States border. The caravan, assembled through a grassroots social media campaign, left San Pedro Sula, Honduras, on 12 October 2018, and as word spread drew people from Nicaragua, El Salvador and Guatemala. They were a mix of those facing political repression and violence, and those fleeing harsh economic conditions in the hope of a better life. Traveling in a caravan offered a degree of safety on a route where migrants have previously disappeared or been kidnapped, and was an alternative to paying high rates to people smugglers.

Migrant caravans travel to the US border at different times each year, but this was the largest in recent memory with as many as 7,000 travelers, including at least 2,300 children, according to UN agencies. Conditions along the way were grueling, with people walking around 30 km a day, often in temperatures above 30℃. The caravan usually set off at around 4am each day to avoid the heat. Like others, this caravan drew condemnation from US president Donald Trump, who made it a focal point of rallies and used it to reiterate his call for tough immigration policies and the building of a border wall.