Laudato Sí – under the eye of Yann Arthus-Bertrand

The exhibition ‘Laudato Sí’, soon to be in Avioth, tells the encounter between two messages. In his encyclical from 2015, Pope Francis addressed a vibrant call for the protection of the Earth and its inhabitants. A message that is deeply echoed by the fantastic aerial photographs of Yann Arthus-Bertrand. All this results in a powerful spiritual and ecological testimony. What could be better than the ‘Basilica of the Fields‘ to host such an exhibition this summer? Don’t miss the inauguration of Laudato Sí in the Basilica of Avioth May 10 at 5:00 p.m.

A pope’s words

Pope Francis’ first encyclical, Laudato Sí, was published in 2015. With it, a clear message was sent to the Church and to the world: our « common home » is in danger. Our Nature, the Divine Creation, is in bad shape, and so are its inhabitants. Acting in the Church therefore implies making an act of commitment.  Similarly, the Church and its members must be among those who lead the way and awaken ecological awareness.

Laudato Si was the first encyclical to approach the ecological problem with such depth, rather than as a secondary concern. Integral ecology, as Pope Francis instituted, is thus an economic, political and religious position. It is a vibrant call for dialogue and commitment that must push everyone to change their lives, at all levels of society: leaders and financiers as well as ordinary citizens. The pope calls on everyone, with their own resources, to manifest love for the neighbour and for Creation. And to manifest it in action.

Soil, water, mountains: everything is,

as it were, a caress of God.

— Pope Francis, Laudato Sí, 2015

A photographer’s eye

The pope’s stance deeply moved Yann Arthus-Bertrand, a septuagenarian photographer living in Paris. Being the author of the best-selling book The Earth From Above (1999), a collection of aerial photographs, he had made photography a tool for ecological awareness and education. The aim of his book was to « witness the beauty of the world and try to protect the Earth. » To this, the photographer adds that « to save the living, one needs a spiritual conversion. »

Yann Arthus-Bertrand notices how the pope’s words meet his phoographs:

I can but recognize that the pope’s text is revolutionary. There are very few heads of state and spiritual guides who dare to tell the truth in this way. I wished to associate myself, at my humble level, with this prophetic approach taken by the pope, by illustrating his words with my images. I believe and I know that the only solution to the ecological crisis will be a spiritual revolution. We will not change the world if we do not change people.

Yann Arthus-Bertrand (translation)

A dialectic of words and images

Following this meeting, Première Partie editions unveiled in 2019 the book ‘Laudato Sí : a newollection of 100 photographs by Yann Arthus Bertrand – some of them unpublished – accompanied by excerpts from the encyclical. In the book, the images « slip between the revolutionary words of the head of the Catholic Church » (Albert Huber). The dialectic of words and images becomes a fruitful, profoundly meaningful encounter that awakens both our faith and our consciences.

The success of the book has in turn sparked new inspirations. This is how the exhibition Laudato Sí, which offers a journey of photos and excerpts from the encyclical, was born, in frames that give them meaning. What is more favourable place for this than this church, which is known as the Cathedral of the fields ? From May onward, come and admire the collection of 20 photo panels of Laudato Sí between the walls of the Basilica of Avioth.


Exhibition | Laudato Sí – illustrated by Yann Arthus-Bertrand
Place | Basilica of Avioth
Dates | May 10 to October 4
Price | Free

The world is a joyful mystery

to be contemplated with gladness and praise.

— Pope Francis, Laudato Sí, 2015

Here is a montage by Le Pèlerin magazine, to make us delve into a photographic tour of Laudato Sí.

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