This Year’s Nobel Peace Prize was awarded to Dr Denis Mukwege and Nadia Murad “for their efforts to end the use of sexual violence as a weapon of war and armed conflict.” The Nobel Peace Prize exhibition is about sexual violence as a weapon of war.
This year, the Nobel Peace Center makes use of art photography to illustrate the topic of sexual violence in war. The brutality of the violence makes it hard to convey through the documentary genre. Sexual violence is still used worldwide as a weapon of war. What can be done to prevent such crimes?
The exhibition, which the Nobel Peace Center stages each year to honor the new Peace Prize laureates, is always opened the day after they have received their awards in Oslo City Hall. When Dr Denis Mukwege came to the Nobel Peace Center to officially open the exhibition on 11 December, he could see how this year’s photographer, Cristina de Middel, had used conceptual art photography to illustrate the heinous crimes that he and have both worked so tirelessly to halt.
Tiny toy soldiers on a naked body; a papaya with a machete-driven clean through its core. “I wanted to make representations of the sexual violence that has been inflicted on people all over the world, both in the past and the present. The violence itself is in many cases so overwhelming that it’s hard to convey sufficiently through the documentary genre. I hope the abstractions in these photos will help the viewer have an empathetic realization within themselves about the victims’ experiences,” explains Cristina de Middel.
A Magnum Photo nominee, the Spanish photographer spent time with both Peace Prize laureates in November 2018. Mukwege was photographed in the hospital he runs in DR Congo, along with some of the thousands of women he has treated. Nadia was photographed in Paris, between meetings with government officials and world leaders.
Visitors to this year’s Peace Prize Exhibition will also have the opportunity to become involved in the struggle to end the use of sexual violence in war. Inside the exhibition, visitors can show their support to the victims by urging Norway’s Director of Public Prosecutions to bring the perpetrators of such crimes to justice.
“Sexual violence is a crime in Norway. The Norwegian authorities therefore have the legal framework and enforcement mechanisms needed to make an active and tangible contribution to the eradication of sexual violence by holding perpetrators to account and prosecuting those who commit such crimes,” says the Nobel Peace Center’s executive director, Liv Tørres. “We owe it to the survivors – and prosecution will send a clear signal that should deter other would-be aggressors.”
The Body as a Battlefield exhibition has been produced in collaboration with Norad and with support from the City of Oslo.
The exhibition is open until November 2019.
Facts about the Nobel Peace Center
One of Norway’s most visited museums with app 250 000 vistors per year presents the Nobel Peace Prize laureates and their work, in addition to telling the story of Alfred Nobel. It is an arena for debate and reflection around topics such as war, peace and conflict resolution
Nobel Peace Center is internationally recognized for its emphasis on documentary photography and interactive technology, presenting changing exhibitions, engaging digital solutions, films, seminars and events.
Olav Njølstad is chair of the board, Liv Tørres is the Executive Director
Nobel Peace Center in Oslo is financed by a combination of public and private funds, the main sponsors and collaborating partners being Hydro, Telenor Group and ABB.
Nobel Peace Prize Exhibition in Oslo 2018: The Body as a Battlefield is based on a press release from Nobel Peace Center in Oslo.
All images © Cristina de Middel / Magnum Photos for the Nobel Peace Center, except when otherwise noted