Gold digger at Serra Pelada open mine

Sebastião Salgado: Serra Pelada

6th Sep 2015 - 18th Sep 2015



Beetles+Huxley will exhibit Sebastião Salgado’s Serra Pelada photo series this September, thirty years after the photographs were taken. The series was created by the celebrated photojournalist as part of his vast photo-essay entitled Workers: An Archaeology of the Industrial Age. The Serra Pelada series describes the captivating plight of the 50,000 gold miners who scaled the Serra Pelada mine everyday.

The mine was famously controversial, employing thousands of local workers in perilous conditions. During the early 1980s, tens of thousands of prospectors flocked to the Serra Pelada site, which at its peak was said to be not only the largest open-air gold mine in the world, but also the most violent. During the peak of the gold rush the mine was known for appalling conditions and violence, whilst the town that grew up beside it was notorious for both murder and prostitution.

Perhaps Salgado’s most famous images, his photographs of the Serra Pelada gold mine are vertigo-inducing in their scale and depth. His cinematic compositions reveal the vast scale of the gruelling hell endured by the miners.