• Exposition

Aqua Mater by Sebastiao Salgado from 1st April to 22 September 2022

Parvis de La Défense

  • From April 1, 2022 to September 22, 2022
Affiche Exposition (c) Aqua Mater

Discover the Aqua Mater exhibition by the Franco-Brazilian photographer Sebastiao Salgado in the heart of a monumental bamboo pavilion designed by the Colombian architect Simon Velez. This exhibition, in partnership with UNESCO, opens on 1st April 2022 on World Water Day.

An educational programme on water conservation

For 6 months, the parvis de La Défense will host the artistic installation Aqua Mater, a unique collection of 42 monumental photographs by the Franco-Brazilian artist Sebastiao Salgado on the theme of water in the heart of a unique 1000 sq.m. natural bamboo structure. Continuing its tour of France in the heart of Europe's largest business district, the choice of La Défense square is not insignificant, offering an original architectural confrontation between natural architecture and steel construction.

A true ode to the fragility of water, the pavilion in Guadua, Amazonia, offers a singular natural setting for Sebastiao Salgado's photographs, reminding us how subtle the balance of nature remains. Water, which occupies a central place in Salgado's work, is humanity's most important common good, and yet one of the most threatened.

As an invitation to travel but also to meditate, Aqua Mater offers a sensory and spiritual experience of 60 metres in length and 10 metres in height. Subdued lighting, a musical and sound atmosphere by the composer François Bernard Mâche, and a tropical mist plunge visitors into an atmosphere of serenity, inviting them to question and making them aware of the environmental issues of today and tomorrow...

Click to enlarge and see all images

  • The Asmat women fish for shrimp. The rivers are also full of crabs, lobsters and fish. Tribes of Irian Jaya, West Papua, Indonesia, 2010 Aqua Mater 2022 © Sebastiao Salgado
  • Victoria Falls seen from Zambia. 2008 Aqua Mater 2022 © Sebastiao Salgado
  • These mountain zebras called Hartmann's zebras (Equus zebra hartmannae) are restricted to the western and central mountainous regions. Hoanib Valley, Damaraland. Namibia. 2005. Aqua Mater 2022 © Sebastiao Salgado

Simon Velez, architecture of nature

Colombian architect Simon Velez creates complex structures out of bamboo, using indigenous materials taken from nature and little transformed. This unique natural architecture is a tribute to the ancestral concept where the whole community lives in perfect balance with its environment.

The Aqua Mater Pavilion, designed with Guadua bamboo from the Amazon, is inspired by the Amerindian malocas: large constructions of wooden pillars, with a roof made of palm leaves and hammocks as the only furniture. Amazonian Guadua bamboo is the most abundant renewable forest resource in Colombia; it is stronger than steel, can generate more biomass than any other crop, and has a unique ability to absorb CO2 from the atmosphere and produce oxygen.

Practical information

Parvis de La Défense
From 1st April to 22 September 2022
From 10am to 6pm
Prices: adult 16€ / student, job seeker, person with reduced mobility 14€ / child 11€ / group, family 12€ / (2 adults and 2 children) 46,50
Opening of the ticket office in March

Parvis de La Défense