New York City
Martim Meirelles (b.1993) is an award-winning, documentary and fine art photographer born and raised in New York City. Meirelles received his B.A. from the University of Miami in 2015, graduating with a dual-degree in Art & Psychology. Long inspired by the ardent resolve displayed by the pioneers of social documentary photography, Meirelles strives to make images that illuminate both the beauty and battle of marginalized populations worldwide. His work has been exhibited nationally and internationally in several galleries including the Soho Photo Gallery, New York, Lowe Art Museum, Coral Gables, FL., IMT Gallery, London, U.K., Cinema Scala, Maputo, Mozambique and Galeria Paul Girol, Nazaré, Portugal. Meirelles continues to work and reside in New York.
Mozambique: An Orphan Nation
At first glance Mozambique appears to be the ultimate sub-Saharan utopia, boasting an idyllic coastline with endless palm-fringed beaches, crystal clear waters and lush mangrove forests. But beyond this seemingly enchanting getaway lies a tremendously dark and tumultuous history – one marred by four hundred years of Portuguese colonial rule, a bloody sixteen-year civil war, tragic floods, widespread famine and perpetual political unrest.
Since gaining independence from Portugal in 1975, Mozambique has struggled to obtain economic, social and political stability and remains one of the poorest countries in the world. With nearly two-thirds of its population currently living below the poverty line, illiteracy at an alarming forty-five percent, a generalized HIV/AIDS epidemic and an orphan population of 2.1 million children, it has become increasingly evident that, generations later, Mozambicans are still suffering the adverse effects of their country’s calamitous past.
In 2016, I had the unique opportunity to spend eleven months volunteering at an orphanage in the town of Mumemo, working closely alongside three hundred orphaned children. Run by the Franciscan Hospitaller Sisters of the Immaculate Conception, this orphanage provides the most vulnerable children with access to basic human needs such as clean water, nutrition, health and education. My ongoing project, Mozambique: An Orphan Nation, provides an up-close and unembellished look at this nation’s ever-growing orphan population as they aim to break free of the detrimental cycle of poverty and finally establish dominion over their futures. Through the haunting beauty of these children’s gazes, I wish to create a dialogue between the past, present and hopeful future of this young nation.
Leo & Ana Paula, 2016
Cayla & Gita, 2016
Menina do Lago, 2016
Rainha da Paz, 2016