More than the humanitarian gaze

Jørgen Grinde's photographs from the Middle East in the 1950s

The exhibition “More than the humanitarian gaze” showcases a selection of Grinde’s (1915-1991) of Palestinian refugees in the 1950s, taken from the UN collection belonging to the Image Collection at the University of Bergen (UiB) Library.

The exhibition has been curated by Kjersti G. Berg (Chr. Michelsen Institute, CMI), Olaf Knarvik (UiB) and Synnøve Marie Vik (UiB), with digital exhibition by Tarje Sælen Lavik.

Originally from Bergen, Norway, Jørgen Grinde was employed by the UN in New York from 1946-1973. Grinde’s photographs in this collection offer a unique entry into both photographic history and Palestinian history. The collection helps to humanise and nuance our ideas about refugees even today, at a time when refugees are a sensitive and polarising topic in many countries. You can find out more about the origins and curation of the exhibition here (in Norwegian).

The exhibition is available online here and the catalogue can be downloaded here. The catalogue includes short commentary on the historical and political background of the Palestinian refugee crisis and the UN’s humanitarian work in the Middle East. The exhibition was displayed at the UiB Library from 26 January to 15 May 2023.

The exhibition, online exhibition and accompanying catalogue are the result of a collaboration between the Chr. Michelsen Institute and the University Library in Bergen, and is supported by Fritt Ord, the Norwegian Centre for Humanitarian Studies and the NFR-funded research project SuperCamp: Genealogies of Humanitarian Containment in the Middle East (CMI).