In October 2014, Edward Burtynsky began a photographic journey that took him 4,000 kilometres across Eastern Europe to capture the scarred landscapes of Holocaust sites. Nearly 80 years later, these sites still bear witness to human loss perpetrated on an unprecedented scale.
Like the scarred landscapes of mines, oil fields and landscapes that have been destroyed by industrial processes in the support of our modern lifestyle that we see in Burtynsky’s work, these places bear the mark of unthinkable destruction long after the activities have ceased. This portfolio is titled Chai – the Hebrew word for ‘life’. While there were an unthinkable number of victims in these places, there are also survivors. Their experiences then and since must guide our remembrance and learning.