El Salvador - a nation held hostage

El Salvador - a nation held hostage

Tariq Zaidi


Festival Year :


Exhibition Description

‘Kill, rape, control' is the motto of the notorious Mara Salvatrucha Gang (MS-13). This street gang and its rival Barrio 18 have become infamous across Central and North America for their brutal violence.  
In El Salvador, both gangs exercise extensive control over communities, and the state is unable to stamp either of them out. The country’s murder rate has consistently been among the world’s highest, paralysing El Salvadorean society.  
It is impossible to cross the street in many cities due to differing gang territory control. Although the government’s no-tolerance policies are largely popular with the public, some human rights observers have criticised the authorities for being too harsh.  
The government has achieved some success, bringing murder rates down from their high of 17 murders a day in 2015 to two murders a day by March 2020. However, an explosion of violence in early 2020, when street gangs killed 76 people in just four days, illustrates how volatile the country still is.  
For now, fear, violence, and intimidation remain an everyday part of life here. 


This exhibition is indoors. Please check what COVID-19 restrictions are in place before you visit.

Artist Bio

In January 2014, Tariq Zaidi gave up an executive management position to pursue his passion for capturing people's dignity, strength, and soul within their environment. His photography focuses on documenting social issues, inequality, traditions and endangered communities around the world. His work has been shown in over 80 exhibitions and featured internationally, including BBC, CNN and National Geographic, among other respected international titles. Tariq's work has received many prestigious awards, including Pictures of the Year International (POY) and the National Press Photographers Association's (NPPA) Awards. In 2020, in recognition of his commitment to human rights, Tariq won Amnesty International's Media Award in photojournalism for his work in El Salvador.  

Exhibition Space

Dates and Times


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Opening Hours
Friday - Sunday: 10:00 am-5:00 pm

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