Sebastião Salgado in Kuwait & A desert on fire
Sebastião Salgado - Greater Burhan Oil Field, Kuwait, 1991 Chemical spray protects firefighter

Sebastião Salgado – Greater Burhan Oil Field, Kuwait, 1991
Chemical spray protects firefighter

Published: November 19, 2019 - Last Updated on May 7, 2020

Kuwait: A Desert on Fire

In the early 1990s, Kuwait hit news reports around the world for the war that different nations fought within its boundaries. In the years following that event, Kuwait and the effects of its war on citizens have inspired countless works of art around the world. They have inspired movies, songs, and paintings. Sebastiao Salgado came up with a stunning series known as Kuwait: A Desert of Fire.

What is it?

As shown above, Kuwait is a reflection of the devastating effect of war on the Middle East country. Kuwait is not just one picture or image. Instead, it’s a series of different images. Through it, the world gets to see the damage the war caused in Kuwait. More specifically, it shows the Kuwaiti oil fields going up in smoke. The images are quite haunting. They are bound to force you to take notice and ask yourself tons of questions too.

Furthermore, the 1991 Kuwaiti War ravaged the country’s landscapes. It shows the following:

• Oxygen getting depleted
• Blackened desert
• Incredible efforts by Canadian firefighters to extinguish the fire

Why is this series important?

Kuwait is significant for many reasons. For example, it pays homage to the countless men and women who fight wars while putting their lives on the line. Additionally, it depicts the courage that men and women display during wars. Other than that, it’s clear that Kuwait: A Desert of Fire also delves into the economic and environmental effects of conflicts. In this case, Kuwait stands to lose a lot if its oil fields burn. The economy and environment will all suffer.

The effect of war on the environment, economy, and human life, in general, lasts beyond a generation. It’s little wonder that the impact of the Kuwait war continues being felt around the world more than 20 years later. Through Kuwait: A Desert on Fire, Salgado provides a timely reminder of what the war meant to the locals. What is more, he also manages to prove the close relationship that exists between humans and the environment.

Conclusion

Everything that man does will always affect the environment. In some cases, the effects could be detrimental and in others positive. Whatever the case, it’s essential for humans to sit back and reflect. While doing that, the focus should be on minimizing the effects of war on humanity. Kuwait: A Desert on Fire has brought Salgado to the frontline. Through this piece, Salgado forces countries, governments, organizations, and individuals to rethink war.

Kuwait photos
Sebastião Salgado - Greater Burhan Oil Field, Kuwait, 1991

Sebastião Salgado – Greater Burhan Oil Field, Kuwait, 1991

Sebastião Salgado – Greater Burhan Oil Field, Kuwait, 1991, Workers place a new wellhead in an oil well that had been damaged by Iraqi explosives

Sebastião Salgado – Greater Burhan Oil Field, Kuwait, 1991
Workers place a new wellhead in an oil well that had been damaged by Iraqi explosives

Sebastião Salgado – Kuwait, 1991

Sebastião Salgado – Kuwait, 1991

Sebastião Salgado – Kuwait, 1991

Sebastião Salgado – Kuwait, 1991

Sebastião Salgado – Kuwait, 1991

Sebastião Salgado – Kuwait, 1991

Sebastião Salgado – Kuwait, 1991

Sebastião Salgado – Kuwait, 1991

Sebastião Salgado – Kuwait, 1991

Sebastião Salgado – Kuwait, 1991

Sebastião Salgado – Kuwait, 1991

Sebastião Salgado – Kuwait, 1991

Sebastião Salgado – Greater Burhan Oil Field, Kuwait, 1991

Sebastião Salgado – Greater Burhan Oil Field, Kuwait, 1991

Sebastião Salgado – Kuwait, 1991

Sebastião Salgado – Kuwait, 1991

Sebastião Salgado – Kuwait, 1991

Sebastião Salgado – Kuwait, 1991

Sebastião Salgado – Kuwait, 1991

Sebastião Salgado – Kuwait, 1991

Sebastião Salgado – Kuwait, 1991

Sebastião Salgado – Kuwait, 1991

Sebastião Salgado – Kuwait, 1991

Sebastião Salgado – Kuwait, 1991

Sebastião Salgado – Kuwait, 1991

Sebastião Salgado – Kuwait, 1991

Sebastião Salgado – Kuwait, 1991

Sebastião Salgado – Kuwait, 1991

Sebastião Salgado – Kuwait, 1991

Sebastião Salgado – Kuwait, 1991

Sebastião Salgado – Kuwait, 1991

Sebastião Salgado – Kuwait, 1991

Sebastião Salgado – Kuwait, 1991

Sebastião Salgado – Kuwait, 1991

Sebastiao Salgado - Kuwait, 1991

Sebastião Salgado – Kuwait, 1991

All images: Sebastião Salgado unless otherwise noted.

 

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