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To Heal a World
160 Years of Photography from the Collections of the Red Cross

November 16, 2021 — April 24, 2022
International Red Cross and Red Crescent Museum. Geneva, Switzerland

For its latest exhibition, the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Museum (MICR) will tap into a unique yet little-known photographic heritage to explore humanitarian imagery and how it is perceived. To Heal a World, scheduled to run from 16 November 2021 to 24 April 2022, will feature over 600 photographs drawn from the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement collections.

To Heal a World presents, in a variety of ways, more than 600 images dating from 1850 to the present. They include both public images used to communicate about humanitarian crises and more confidential ones, once reserved for internal use.

The works were carefully selected over the course of two years from a highly diverse corpus of photos: the collections of the MICR, the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) and the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC).

The broad scope of perspectives on display alerts viewers to the complexity of humanitarian work beyond the lens. A number of images were captured by well-known photographers – such as Werner Bischof, Susan Meiselas and Henri Cartier-Bresson from Magnum Photos agency – while others are the work of people employed by the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement or people directly affected by crises. The exhibition ends with a selection of personal photographs collected from migrants by Alexis Cordesse.

To Heal a World delivers a methodical analysis of the codes that underpin humanitarian imagery. Visitors are encouraged to view each image with a critical eye: where was it taken, what story does it tell, and what does it not show? In exploring the intentionality behind each work, the exhibition sets out a visual grammar of humanitarian action that can help to unlock meaning.


To Heal a World
160 Years of Photography from the Collections of the Red Cross

From 16 November 2021 to 24 April 2022
Tuesdays to Sundays
From 10am to 6pm
Open day on Saturday, 20 November, from 10am to 5pm

Exhibition curator: Nathalie Herschdorfer.
The exhibition is a joint production by the MICR and the Rencontres d’Arles photography festival.
The works presented here are from the collections of the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Museum (MICR), the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), and the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC).
The exhibition received funding from the Swiss Confederation, and Canton and the City of Geneva.