S otheby’s is pleased to present Tree of Life by Sebastião Salgado, the debut NFT from one of the world’s most celebrated living photographers. Brilliantly conceived and masterfully crafted over the course of five months, Tree of Life is an original short video film with original audio and over 102 indigenous people hidden within the art. It is a love letter to the extraordinary splendor and wonder of Brazil’s rainforest, rivers, mountains, and people. Salgado’s bold entry into NFTs represents a paradigm shift not only in the world of digital art but in the world of photography generally. The sale of Tree of Life on September 28 complements a larger NFT project – Sebastião Salgado: Amazônia, a blind-minted edition of 5,000 unique photographs on October 14.
Tree of Life is part of Sotheby’s multifaceted fundraising initiative benefitting Instituto Terra, the acclaimed Brazilian conservation nonprofit cofounded in 1998 by Sebastião Salgado and Lélia Deluiz Wanick Salgado. In addition to the NFT, the partnership includes Magnum Opus, a selling exhibition of 50 platinum prints by Salgado, the Sotheby’s Impact Gala, and a benefit auction of artwork and experiences. All proceeds will benefit Instituto Terra and support its vision for a more sustainable future.
About Sebastião Salgado
Sebastião Salgado’s (b. 1944, Brazil) photography practice is rooted in his deep personal drive to document social and economic inequality. Salgado’s photo essays offer overt visual critiques of the current state of the world, thematically tackling the interplay of the human condition and the environment.
Salgado’s photographs have been the subject of international exhibitions, celebrated books, and are held in many museum collections globally including Centre Pompidou (Paris) and the National Museum of Modern Art (Tokyo) among others.
Salgado has been awarded numerous photographic prizes and prestigious honors, including a Lifetime Achievement Award from the International Center of Photography (New York) and a Comendador da Ordem do Rio Branco (Brazil) distinction. In September 2021, Salgado was granted the Praemium Imperiale award by the Japan Art Association, Japan’s “Nobel Prize of art.”
In 1998, Salgado and Lélia Wanick Salgado, his wife and longtime creative partner, co-founded Instituto Terra, the acclaimed Brazilian nonprofit dedicated to reforestation, conservation, and environmental education.
About Instituto Terra
Instituto Terra was founded by one of the most important living photographers of today, Sebastião Salgado and his partner Lélia Deluiz Wanick Salgado, a curator, designer and scenographer - with a dream to return to nature what decades of environmental degradation destroyed. Located in the Brazilian state of Minas Gerais in the drainage basin of the Valley of the River Doce, the land on which Instituto Terra site became a Private Reserve of Natural Patrimony (RPPN), similar to a National Park, and was the first to be created in a degraded area of the River Doce region. This region embraces the invaluable biome of the Atlantic Forest which, despite its global importance, today retains only 12.4 percent of its original vegetation. The aim of Instituto Terra is to ensure the survival of the species native to this biome and to strengthen the biodiversity of the region threatened with extinction.
In the past 24 years, Instituto Terra, a non-profit civil organization, has planted nearly 3 million trees native to Brazil’s Atlantic Forest; revitalized over two thousand degraded water springs; produced various educational programs that train farmers, public officials and children in the conservation and restoration of native ecosystems; and brought back more than 250 animal species to the land, including endangered animals such as the puma.