Mario Pinto

Born in Beja, Portugal on July 11, 1978.

Since an early age I have been fascinated by the inherent power of images and their capacity to convey ideas, feelings and create awareness.

My practice covers a variety of styles, from traditional social documentary to a more conceptual approach to contemporary issues. My images are the direct result of my insight about the world we live in and how we, as humans, relate to each other and to the world surrounding us.




The Sanctuary is a Christian charity that works amongst the International Communities of Newport. The aim of this institution is to give support to refugees and asylum seekers in the city of Newport. It provides social and leisure activities and helps refugees find accommodation and access to employment. These are women only meetings and entail a myriad of activities and support with the purpose of easing their integration in a land and culture unbeknown to them.

   The group is comprised by many nationalities, but the most prevalent are Nigerian, Eritrean and Sudanese. Despite their different nationalities they all share the same fate: One of loss, misappropriation, sexual abuse and religious persecution. With the promise of conserving their full integrity and by offering my unconditional respect, I was presented with various stories; from reports about threats from the Jihadist group Boko Haram, to unspeakable accounts of sexual violence and sex trafficking.

   With the subject of anonymity in mind, this project seeks to give voice to their predicament without directly linking them to any specific event.  The beauty of their faces and the loudness of their gaze, while looking away, out of the frame, is the main focus. The intention is of a dignified subject, one that, without voice, has a powerful presence, emptied of judgemental preconceptions and filled with courage and hope.