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ABOUT

 Biography

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Tomàs Abella is a photojournalist based in Barcelona.

He studied photography at the Institut d’Estudis Fotogràfics de Catalunya (Catalonian Institute of Photograph Studies).

Between 1988 and 1993, he worked for the newspapers El Observador and Diari de Barcelona.

His first assignments as an independent photojournalist document the fall of the Sandinista revolution, the decline of the Salvadoran guerrilla and the tragedy of the Guatemalan, Salvadoran and Nicaraguan refugees (1987-1991).  In 1998, he covered the devastating Hurricane Mitch that passed through Nicaragua.

Between 1992 and 2002, he produced an essay entitled The Children of the Sun which gives clear proof of the strong will of resistance of the Quechua and Aymara villages in Bolivia and Peru.

Since 1996, he has been documenting Cooperation and Development Programs in Africa, Latin America and Asia for Intermón Oxfam.

In 2000, he began a photographic project on immigration in Spain which concluded in 2004 with the publication of the book and exhibition EXIT. In 2004, the International Photojournalism Festival VISA pour l’Image (France) presented his work.

Since 2008, he has been showing the Women of Water awareness project on the water problem and its relationship with the women of Sub-Saharan Africa.

In 2009, he started a project in Chiapas, Mexico, with Mayan peasant organizations fighting against the impoverishment and emigration caused by deforestation, the use of agrochemicals and the spreading of monoculture agriculture in the region. This photojournalistic report focuses on the agro-ecological farming of cocoa and coffee, which protects tropical rainforests and biodiversity and facilitates sustainable commerce. The first part of this work was presented in Paris in 2010, together with the publication of his book KA’KAW | Legendary Cocoa – Cacao Real from Soconusco.

Timeline

2011 – Proyecto en curso
Regresa al Estado de Chiapas (México) para continuar su trabajo en comunidades mam que habitan en las faldas del volcán Tacaná cultivando café órgánico, de altura y bajo sombra. Este reportaje plasma los esfuerzos y la apuesta de estos pequeños productores de café por una agricultura ecológica, viable y socialmente justa.

2010
Se inicia como editor independiente y publica su libro KA’KAW | Un cacao de leyenda – Cacao Real de Soconusco.  Una primera tirada de 2.000 ejemplares se destina a la venta en los Museos del Chocolate Choco-Story (Paris, Praha y Brugge).

2009 – Proyecto en curso
Inicia un proyecto en Chiapas (México) con organizaciones campesinas mayas que luchan contra el empobrecimiento y la emigración causada por la deforestación, el uso de agroquímicos y la extensión de monocultivos en la región. Un primer reportaje se adentra en la recuperación del ancestral cultivo del cacao, una práctica agroecológica que protege los bosques húmedos tropicales, la biodiversidad y facilita un comercio sustentable.

2008 – 2013
Desarrolla y presenta su trabajo de sensibilización sobre la problemática del agua y su relación con las mujeres en el África subsahariana, fruto de diversos reportajes en Etiopía, Chad, Burkina Faso y Mauritania.

2008
Profesor Invitado lX Curso Extraordinario: Usos y Significados de la Imagen. Universidad de Salamanca.

2006 – 2009
Profesor Invitado Talleres de Fotografía. Institut d’Estudis Fotogràfics de Catalunya.

2005 – 2006
Elabora las líneas maestras para la edición y la digitalización del fondo fotográfico de Intermón Oxfam.

2004
Profesor Invitado IV Seminario de Fotografía y Periodismo. Fundación Santa María de Albarracín (Teruel). Presentación de su obra y proyección de EXIT.

2004
El Festival International du Photojournalisme Visa pour l’Image (Francia) muestra su obra y exhibe L’EXIL basado en su proyecto sobre inmigración EXIT.

2002
Aborda la problemática del uso de pesticidas en las plantaciones de café de Jinotega (Nicaragua) y sus graves consecuencias sobre la población.

2000
Proyección audiovisual de su trabajo sobre Inmigración en España en el IV Encuentro Internacional de Fotoperiodismo “Ciudad de Gijón” — Semana Negra.

2000 – 2004
Emprende un proyecto fotográfico sobre la Inmigración en España que concluye en 2004 con la edición del libro y la exposición fotográfica EXIT.

1996
Desde 1996 documenta para Intermón Oxfam diversos Programas de Cooperación y Desarrollo en África, América Latina y Asia. Algunas de sus fotografías son objeto de campañas publicitarias en TV.

1992 – 2002
Elabora un ensayo titulado Los hijos del Sol que evidencia la firme voluntad de resistencia de los pueblos Quechua y Aimara en Bolivia y Perú, que se muestra en la serie documental Fotògrafs de Televisió de Catalunya.

1998
Cubre el paso del devastador Huracán Mitch por Nicaragua para la Agencia COVER.

1991
Documenta para Médicos sin Fronteras el brote de epidemia de cólera que azota Perú.

1987 – 1991
Documenta el hundimiento de la revolución sandinista, el ocaso de la guerrilla salvadoreña y la tragedia de los refugiados guatemaltecos, salvadoreños y nicaragüenses.

1989
Es el editor gráfico del suplemento La Ciutat i el 92 – Olimpiada Cultural Barcelona 1992.

Exhibitions

June 12 – October 5, 2013
Women of Water | Mujeres de agua | Dones d’aigua – photographic exhibition and video projection
Roca Barcelona Gallery
Barcelona, Spain

March 22 – July 15, 2013
Women of Water | Mujeres de agua – photographic exhibition and video projection
Roca Madrid Gallery
Madrid, Spain

November 7, 2012 – February 16, 2013
Extended until March 03, 2013
Women of Water | Mulheres de água – photographic exhibition and video projection
Roca Lisboa Gallery
Lisboa, Portugal

November 5, 2010 – January 31, 2011
KA’KAW – photographic exhibition and book launch
Exhibit opening at Le Musée gourmand du chocolat, Paris
Choco-Story Museums (Paris, Praha, Brugge)

October 14–16, 2009
A Legendary Cocoa | Cacao Real de Soconusco – audiovisual projection
16th Salon du Chocolat – Paris 2009
Paris, France

August 7 – September 21, 2008
Women of Water | Mujeres de agua
International Expo Water and Sustainable Development ExpoZaragoza 2008
Sociedad Estatal para Exposiciones Internacionales | España expone
Zaragoza, Spain

April 10 – May 18, 2008
Women of Water | Dones d’aigua – photographic exhibition and book launch
Exhibit opening at Amatller Institute of Hispanic Art Foundation
Barcelona, Spain

September 6–26, 2006 – Simultaneous traveling exhibition in Catalonia and Mediterranean Levante [from 2006 to 2009]
EXIT
Tecla Sala
L’Hospitalet de Llobregat, Spain

June 4 – August 31, 2006
Somnis i Esperança
Exhibit opening at Pati Manning
Barcelona, Spain

September 27 – October 25, 2005
EXIT – photographic exhibition, audiovisual projection and speaking at Migration and Multicultural Societies
Aula CAM
Alicante, Spain

December 2, 2004
EXIT – audiovisual projection and speaking at Immigration
Casa Golferichs
Barcelona, Spain

November 25, 2004
EXIT – audiovisual projection and book launch
Centro Cultural Conde Duque
Madrid, Spain

November 22, 2004
EXIT – audiovisual projection and book launch
CCCB – Centro de Cultura Contemporánea de Barcelona
Barcelona, Spain

October 23–24, 2004
EXIT – audiovisual projection and speaking at Immigration
IV Seminario de Fotografía y Periodismo – Fundación Santa María de Albarracín
Teruel, Spain

October 2–24, 2004
EXIT – photographic exhibition, audiovisual projection and speaking at Immigration
III Bienal de Fotografia Xavier Miserachs
Palafrugell, Spain

September, 2004
L’EXIL – Scrennings
16th International festival of photojournalism Visa pour l’Image
Perpignan, France

July 7, 2004
EXIT – audiovisual projection and speaking at Immigration
Palau Robert
Barcelona, Spain

May 4 – June 30, 2004
EXIT
Exhibit opening at Pati Manning – Primavera Fotográfica Festival
Barcelona, Spain

August, 2003
Los Pipitos | Enicaraguako
ELAN-Euskadi. Getaria City Council
Getaria, Spain

2002
Hurricane Mitch in Nicaragua: The beaten | El Mitch en Nicaragua: Los golpeados
IHN CA – Instituto de Historia de Nicaragua y Centroamérica. Universidad Centroamericana – UCA
Nicaragua, Central America

Traveling exhibition [from 2001 to 2004]
Let’s break the circle of poverty: Education now! | Rompamos el círculo de la pobreza: ¡Educación ahora!
Exhibit opening at Pati Turull
Sabadell, Spain

December 11, 2001 – January, 10, 2002
Immigrants: Working like you | Inmigrantes: Trabajando como tú
Fundació Josep Comaposada
Barcelona, Spain

Traveling exhibition [from 2000 to 2001]
Hurricane Mitch in Nicaragua: The beaten | El Mitch en Nicaragua: Los golpeados
Exhibit opening at Pati Turull
Sabadell, Spain

July, 2000
Migrations: Causes | Migraciones: Causas – audiovisual projection
4th International Meeting of Photojournalism «City of Gijón»
Gijón, Spain

November 16 – December 4, 1999
Workers of the World | Trabajadores del Mundo
Fundació Josep Comaposada
Barcelona, Spain

1998
Underground | Bajo Tierra
Fundació Pau i Solidaritat
Barcelona, Spain

May 6 – June 7, 1992
In the Time of Cholera | En los tiempos del cólera
Photographic exhibition and launch Books Collection El compromiso con la realidad (The commitment to reality). Title #1: En los tiempos del cólera
Casa Elizalde – Primavera Fotográfica Festival
Barcelona, Spain
In collaboration with Médicos sin Fronteras (Doctors without Borders)

My Partner

Maria Borrajo was educated in France up to adolescence, at which point she returned to Spain and settled in Barcelona. She studied photography at the Institut d’Estudis Fotogràfics de Catalunya (Catalonian Institute of Photograph Studies) and the career of Art History.

In 1987 she took up photojournalism in the convulsed Central America. Nicaragua will be her first destination. Simultaneously she worked for the newspaper, Diario de Barcelona, until 1992. Much of her professional activity is principally related to Latin America (Nicaragua, Bolivia, Guatemala, El Salvador, Peru, Mexico…).

In 1989 she was appointed a member of the International Relations section of Associació de Fotògrafs de Premsa i Comunicació de Catalunya, body that promotes the dissemination of photojournalism and author photography, where she also managed and coordinated cultural programming until 1994. She was a founding member of Espai de Fotografia Francesc Català-Roca.

From 1994 to 1996 she lived in the Andean city of La Paz. The Fundación Cultural Quipus, a prestigious body committed to the promotion and preservation of artistic expressions of Bolivian culture, commissioned her to design a plan to create the Archivo Nacional Histórico Fotográfico de Bolivia (Bolivia Photo Library). Eminent photographers: Julio Cordero and Freddy Alborta; and distinguished experts: Javier Nuñez de Arco, Antonio Eguino, Peter McFarren, Daniel Buck[i]…, introduced her to the fascinating world of the photographic heritage of Bolivia during the course of her research and photo sourcing work. She co-devised the project guidelines and conceived the technical protocol of the archive. At the same time, she became a member of a working group promoted by the Republic of Bolivia Chancellery to boost relations with UNESCO and to stimulate the joint coordination of cultural projects.

She is involved, intermittently, as curator, photographic editor and general coordinator in cultural projects related to the visual arts linked to different social themes: immigration (integration, social exclusion), gender equality (women, education), human rights (recovery of historical memory) and the environment (conservation, sustainability), for several national and foreign entities.

Since 1987, she has worked alongside the photojournalist Tomàs Abella coordinating support to the scientific/artistic curator and the photographic process for all his projects. She also supervises copyright for him and acts as his business and financial manager.

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