Tomasz Laczny

40/place which does not exist

"40" is about a personal journey to the country which does not exist.

In 1975 the last African colony, Western Sahara, was invited by Morocco and many of the population forced to leave their country. Even though under international law the invasion was illegal and that in 1991 Morocco agreed to referendum, the Saharawi people are still waiting for a resolution to this conflict.

This is a photographic book about the Saharawi people who live in refugee camps in Algeria. They have waited 40 years to return to their homeland of Western Sahara.

The camps are located near Tindouf in Western Algeria at a place called “The Devil’s Garden’.

I visited the Saharawi refugee camps by chance. The book is my personal diary.

This journey changed my point of view of many different things. It definitely taught me a lot about patience and human dignity. It was an unforgettable journey both mentally and physically.

The book contains a combination of photographs from the camps as well as graphics based on satellite images of the camps from space. There are two titles for this book ‘40’ which refers to the number of years the Saharawi people have been waiting to return to their homeland and ‘The place which does not exist’ (in Arabic) which refers to their current political status. 

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