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U of O hosts gallery with Swiss embassy and Canadian Red Cross

Photo by Jessica Eritou

There are two sides to every story. With the help of an internationally renowned photographer, the University of Ottawa is hosting an exhibition that explores a side of war we barely get to see.

A travelling war photography exhibition showcasing Swiss documentary photographer Jean Mohr, made its stop at the U of O on Oct. 30. War from the victims’ perspective is on display for students and the public through the Human Rights Research and Education Centre (HRREC) until February.

The exhibit was originally created by the Musée de l’Elysée in Lausanne, Switzerland to honour the 150th anniversary of the International Committee of the Red Cross’ efforts in humanitarian aid.

“The Swiss government basically wanted to commemorate the anniversary, so the exhibition was the perfect way to mark (it),” says Viviana Fernandez, assistant director of the HRREC.

Mohr’s photographs capture images of several war-torn areas including Cyprus, Palestine, Pakistan, and Nicaragua.

Many of his photographs are of children, and capture two striking differences throughout the gallery: Mohr photographed numerous children showing sorrow due to their poor living conditions, but also cheerful children roaming the streets of their refugee camps.

The gallery is divided into four sub-themes: “Portraits of Exile,” powerful shots of victims in refugee camps; “Temporary Landscapes,” long shots of terrain and towns; “The Children’s Diaspora,” how children spend their everyday life during times of conflict; and “Life Goes On,” a more uplifting segment showing victims as they adjust to their new life.

Fernandez hopes the gallery can be a space for discussion, especially in the world of academia.

“We would like people to come and enjoy a powerful exhibition,” she says. “We will be inviting professors and their classrooms to come and to have their classes in the context of our conference room, looking at the exhibition and perhaps taking advantage of the gallery to inspire conversation and pay attention to the issues the exhibition is showcasing.”

You can see the exhibition at 57 Louis-Pasteur from now until Feb. 10, 2015.


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