War from the Victims’ Perspective

An exhibition produced by the Musée de l’Elysée, Lausanne, and the Swiss Ministry of Foreign Affairs. On display at Tufts University Fletcher School September 14th – October 5th.

Event Details

Location

The Fletcher School / Tufts University
Cabot Intercultural Center, 160 Packard Avenue, Medford, Massachusetts 02155 United States

Date

Cost

Free Admission

War from the Victims’ Perspective

Photography by Jean Mohr

 

An exhibition produced by the Musée de l’Elysée, Lausanne, and the Swiss Ministry of Foreign Affairs

On August 22nd, the Geneva Convention was signed 150 years ago, marking the birth of international humanitarian law as we know it today. It has since evolved through a number of stages and increased in scope, but violations are still commonplace, and even now there are countless victims of war crimes. This has prompted Switzerland to join forces with the International Committee of the Red Cross to launch an initiative aimed at strengthening international humanitarian law. The anniversary is also being commemorated with a traveling exhibition of works by Swiss photographer, Jean Mohr, who photographs victims of conflict. This exhibition will be on display at Tufts University Fletcher School from September 14th trough October 5th.

Special Event on September 25th 

Join us for lecture by Martin Dahinden, Director General of the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation and designated Swiss Ambassador to the USA on Old and new challenges to humanitarian action in armed conflicts See more and register here

Jean_Mohr4Exhibition hours

Monday – Thursday 8 AM – 1 AM

Friday 8 AM – 9 PM

Saturday 9 AM – 9 PM

Sunday 9 AM – 1 AM

 

150 years of Swiss Humanitarian Aid

 

Switzerland’s position is established at the forefront of the international stage – more prominently than its geographical size implies. In the humanitarian field in particular, it played a decisive role in the founding of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), the most important beneficiary of the Confederation’s humanitarian aid today. Depositary of the Geneva Conventions, it is actively committed to the respect of international humanitarian law.

Its active stand in the protection of victims of armed conflicts and in the aid to those of forgotten conflicts is internationally recognised. Switzerland’s place and role can today be further highlighted through photography. This medium contributes to this promotional task as it occupies a prominent position at the crossroad of mass media and artistic creativity. Furthermore, photography is a universal language. It represents a very rich heritage that is today the focus of major efforts by public authorities eager to promote it and make it accessible.

Particularly timely on this, the 150th anniversary of the ICRC and of the First Geneva Convention, the issue of victims of armed conflicts is crucial in the international debate. Swiss photographer Jean Mohr (1925) appears today to be one of those best placed to address this subject. His images are known not only for their graphic qualities but also for their great sensitivity, respecting the victims’ dignity.

 

War from the Victims’ Perspective

Photography by Jean Mohr

 

Jean_MohrEarly on, Jean Mohr sought to understand and explain the drama of civilians trapped in belligerent situations. His reportages are the result of decades of experience, which saw a ICRC and UNRWA (United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East) delegate transform himself into a full-time photographer, after a spell at an academy of painting.

More than 80 exhibitions worldwide have been dedicated to his work, including two at the Musée de l’Elysée in Lausanne that holds his collection. In 1978, at Photokina (Frankfurt’s major Photography Fair), Jean Mohr was awarded the prize for the photographer who had most consistently served the cause of human rights. He is one of the best representatives of humanist photography, masterfully balancing sensitivity and rigor, emotion and reflection, art and documentary evidence.
Foto_Jean_Mohr2The exhibition addresses the issues of victims of conflicts, refugees and communities suffering from war and still under potential threat. It focuses on the emblematic cases of Palestine, Cyprus, and Africa. Other examples illustrate the universal problems of populations directly or indirectly enduring repercussions of war (in Iran, Pakistan, Nicaragua…).

Palestine, its refugee camps, precarious sanitary conditions, and the Gaza stalemate, whilst being the subject of major media attention, is a case worthy of reconsideration. It needs to be regularly re-explained and repositioned in the context of the Israeli-Arab conflict. The case of Cyprus serves as a reminder that the refugee problem still remains an issue for certain members of the European Union. Several hundreds of thousands of people were forced into exile. Africa too needed to be addressed, as the post-colonial conflicts forced millions into displacement. The fragility of these States, outlined as they are by inherited colonial borders, regularly fuels turmoil which leads to humanitarian crises. The refugee problem is present throughout the continent.

Focussing upon these three geographical regions presents the problem of war victims in an historical setting classified by theme: “Portraits of Exile”, “The Children’s Diaspora”, “Temporary Landscapes”, and “Life Goes On”. These photographs render a face to the casualties and retrace the steps of their displacement, from their settlement in the precariousness of the camps and reception centres to their attempts to adapt to an enduring situation. After Geneva, the exhibition War from the Victims’ Perspective, Photographs by Jean Mohr will travel around the world until 2016.

 

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