ART SEEN - Life of Mine: Giving mine action a human face
If you go for a stroll along the lakeside on Quai Mont Blanc, something else than the beautiful panorama or the famous Jet d'Eau will capture your attention: the compelling photo art exhibition 'Life of Mine' raises awareness of the problem of land mines following armed conflicts in so many countries of our world and gives mine action a human face.
Life of Mine: Giving mine action a human face - Review by Uli Van Neyghem
The extremely aesthetic and informative exhibition is the initiative of Munich based freelance photographer Johannes Müller, who was born in Norway. On his own or as an embedded journalist he visited countries most touched by these explosive remnants of war to shine a light on the lives impacted by mines. His photos portrait the people living under the constant invisible threat and the courageous individuals trying to eliminate it.
His mission has been supported by the Geneva International Centre for Humanitarian Demining (GICHD), a non-profit foundation that is working towards keeping lives safe in mine contaminated regions. It also collaborates with local partners to restore livelihoods by returning the land to productive use after the clearing.
The gripping, tasteful photos of the exhibition are accompanied by well-structured information in French, English and German. Films and interviews, directly accessible through scanning QR codes on the posters with your mobile devices, complete the multi-media experience.
You are sure to discover facts that you were unaware of:
Did you know for example that, right on our doorstep on the European continent, more than 24 years after the civil war following the breakdown of the former Republic of Yugoslavia, the hazard of stepping on a land mine is still a terrible reality for the people living there? At the end of the conflict, Bosnia and Herzegovina were contaminated by more than 1 million mines. Even today, an estimated 75 000 still remain to be cleared.
Or, how crucial mine action is for lasting peace in Columbia? After 50 years of civil war, more than 60 % of municipalities in Columbia remain affected. Following the peace agreement with the FARC rebels, mine action now tries to include all involved parties in the elaborate and dangerous clearing process. Mines in Columbia are mostly of an improvised nature, planted in isolated rural areas to protect strategic positions. Left behind when the armed groups moved on, they are still blocking access to roads, paths, schools and other civilian infrastructure. Only if they can be cleared, more than 6 million people who fled the touched regions will be able to return and start rebuilding their lives.
One of the snapshots I took from this amazing exhibition shows talented young German photographer Clara Böhm, who accompanied and assisted, as well as stood in for Johannes Müller when he got ill and could not go on one of his missions. A good number of the incredible photos included in the exhibition are hers. I was lucky to get a private tour round the expo, because she is a friend.
You still have time until May 5 to discover ‘Life of Mine’ during a lakeside stroll and look in the eyes of the courageous men and women risking their lives to build a better future.
The Practical Details:
What: 'Life of Mine': Open Air Multimedia Exhibition
Where: Lakeside Promenade, Quai du Mont-Blanc,
opposite Hotel Beau Rivage, Geneva
When: On NOW - until 5 May 2019
Tickets: CHF 0-