"European Shelters Exhibition in Bern: Exploring Shelters in Ukraine and Switzerland

girl in bomb shelter

Visit Kornhausforum Gallery in Bern until October 22 to see a unique exhibition reflecting the theme of seeking refuge during wartime in Ukraine and Switzerland, showcasing the different realities of these two countries.

With the onset of the aggressive war in Ukraine, civilian shelters became a more prominent topic for the Swiss. In Ukraine, these mostly underground facilities are essential for saving lives. In Switzerland, they provide a sense of security in case of potential crises. Therefore, the exhibition 'European Shelters' is highly relevant.

It comprises two main sections: a documentary photography exhibition and research work.

The impressive photo series 'Traces of Presence' by Ukrainian photographer Pavel Dorohy depicts how, during the Russian attacks on Kharkiv in spring 2022, residents found shelter in metro stations. The series of photos and accompanying video footage show how Kharkiv residents created temporary homes underground and tried to lead as 'normal' a life as possible for two months.

The research work titled 'Shelters of the Future' by Turkish architect Onur Atay is a counterpoint to these documented realities. The artist illustrates how shelters have historically developed in Switzerland and the ideologies and concepts behind them.

In a utopian and visionary manner, Onur offers a glimpse into the future of Swiss bunkers - transforming them into decentralized underground production hubs that benefit the population and the economy.

This timely and highly specific exhibition is complemented by the final projects of the 'Rebuilding Ukraine' qualification course. This course has been offered to Ukrainian refugees, especially women with relevant professional backgrounds, for a year now. It was developed by the Faculty of Architecture at Bern University of Applied Sciences in collaboration with other Swiss universities of applied sciences.

Participants in the course have the opportunity to assess, jointly develop, and manage projects related to Ukraine's recovery, including building and infrastructure reconstruction.

Where: Kornhausforum Gallery, Kornhausplatz 18, CH-3011 Bern, 2nd floor. 

When: September 15, 2023 - October 22, 2023 

Opening Hours: Tuesday - Sunday from 11:00 AM to 5:00 PM, Closed on Mondays. 

For more details, visit the gallery's website


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