WIN 3 SETS OF 2 TICKETS TO SEE EXIL – details at the end of this article.

by Chené Koscielny

Taking place at the Red Cross Museum from 14th March – 23rd November 2018 – EXIL is an exhibit of 300 photographs addressing the themes of journey, displacement and exile.

To flee a country, leave family, friends, landmarks, cross borders, demarcation lines, on foot, by boat – this is the reality of exile. More than 300 photographs captured by Magnum photojournalists tell about the migrant’s journey, walking, waiting, uncertainty, fear, but also hope. The work of historical figures of the agency such as Robert Capa, Werner Bischof and Raymond Depardon comes alongside that of contemporary photographers present in the field. From the Spanish-Vietnam war, from the Balkan conflict to the one that engulfed the Middle East to the arrival of refugees at the gates of Europe, the exhibition offers an exciting documentary into the history of the world and humanity and questions as diverse as territoriality, geopolitics, economic contexts and mental boundaries. To illustrate these movements, EXIL offers a bold scenography and breaks with traditional displays by allow visitors to take charge of the photographs; to create a completely different relationship with the image and destiny of the people represented.


I visited the Exil exhibition with my 9-year-old and 13-year-old. The idea of being able to handle the photographs is a novel one, which the boys enjoyed very much.

This also means you can really study the photographs and move them around to your heart’s content. The photographs sparked discussions about the Second World War, the current refugee crisis and other war zones and humanitarian crises around the world.

The exhibition brings home the message that the current problem of refugees and people being displaced from their homes is not new and has been played out many times in so many different places around the world.

The emotions on the faces of the people in exile are timeless and placeless: despair, anguish, loneliness, helplessness, loss.

One of the highlights include a wooden boat with bundles of cloth on a sea of plastic bottles depicting a refugee boat from the National Museum of Immigration History in Paris. The work by Barthélémy Toguo from Cameroon portrays the harsh reality of fleeing across the sea.

Veteran war photographer Robert Capa’s photograph of people fleeing burning homes without panicking and without looking back in 1945 near the town of Wesel in Germany also stands out. Capa parachuted with soldiers over the Lower Rhine risking crossfire from anti-aircraft guns and hundreds were killed. Capa took the risk: His motto: “If your photographs aren’t good enough, you’re not close enough.”

More than 30 million people are estimated to have wanted to return to their home countries after the war. But where do you settle down when everything has been destroyed?

Exil exhibitionI was also struck by Paolo Pellegrin’s photograph of refugees arriving on the tourist island of Kos, Greece, 2016. The contrast of tourist sunning themselves against the hardship of refugees arriving in the background is shocking.

The exhibition is powerful and the fact that you can handle the photographs and get up close and personal with the subjects and move them around adds to the idea of displacement, transition and timelessness.  It’s also a powerful reminder of how quickly circumstances can change and how very fortunate we are.



WHERE: Musée International de la Croix-Rouge et du Croissant-Rouge, 17 avenue de la Paix, 1202 Genève.

WHEN: 14th March – 25th November 2018 (check their website for opening hours).

COST: 15CHF adult, 7CHF concessions.

INFO: Click here for website.


COMPETITION: Win 3 x 2 adult tickets to see EXIL.

To enter: 

Answer this simple question:

How many photographs are on display at the Exil Exhibition?

Send your answer to info@thingstodoingeneva.ch by noon Wednesday, 11th of April 2018. Winners will be announced by email.

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