Detours - Nobel Peace Center - Nobel Peace Center

Nobel Peace Center


  1. Photo: Omar Imam
  2. Photo: Poul Buchard / Louisiana
  3. Photo: Zakira / UNICEF Lebanon


15 Mar 2017–03 Sept 2017

Detours is an exhibition about people who find themselves forcibly displaced from their homes. Here you can laugh and cry, experience for yourself the refugees’ abiding sense of loss and desperation, and observe how, at first glance, the ravages of wartime bombing can also possess a strange kind of beauty.

Detours is made up of several smaller displays and installations that depict life as a refugee in widely differing ways. Through photography and contemporary art, and using the refugees’ own images and stories, the audience will draw closer to those who have been forced to flee from Syria. We meet young women who left Syria to study before the outbreak of war, and who have been unable to return home. We meet Syrian men who have fled across the border into Lebanon, and who send desperate messages home to their families. We meet Syrian children who are trying to keep their courage up, while their lives have been put on hold in a refugee camp far from home.

One thing they all share is that they have escaped the bombs. They are safe, but still feel trapped. They have lost their homeland and their dreams for the future. Their lives have taken a detour.

With Detours, we want to give people better insight into what the issue we call the refugee crisis is all about. The refugees’ situation is often described with empathy and sorrow, or with rejection. This exhibition shows that refugees are perfectly ordinary people – the difference is simply that they have been forced to flee their homes.

-Liv Tørres, executive director of the Nobel Peace Center.

Detours consists of five different photo essays and one piece of contemporary art. In addition, the exhibition also contains a rather unusual bar. In the Bias Bar, people are served prejudices – their own and others’ – against refugees and against the countries accepting refugees. Read more about the Bias Bar here.


A photo series that has been created in conjunction with the photographic agency Magnum Photos. It shows streams of refugees stretching all the way back to the 1940s, presented in pictures taken by legendary photographers like Robert Capa, Stuart Franklin and Paolo Pellegrin.

Our Limbo

A diary-inspired presentation of the lives of five young Syrian women, who went to Lebanon to study before the war broke out. The hostilities have made it impossible for them to return home, and now they are living in different countries around the world. They have lost their homeland and their dreams for the future. The Lebanese-British documentary photographer Natalie Naccache is behind the project, and the exhibition includes her photos as well as those of the women themselves.

ourlimboPhoto: Natalie Naccache

Live, Love, Refugee

A series of eleven staged photos taken in a refugee camp in Lebanon. The photos and associated texts are surrealistic and humoristic, but each one conceals a heart-wrenching story. The Syrian photographer Omar Imam, who is behind the project, says that he wants to challenge audiences by confounding their expectations of photos of refugees.


Photo: Omar Imam

Finding One’s Shadow in the Ruins and Rubble

An art installation comprising 31 small light boxes, which show pictures of bombed-out buildings in the Syrian city of Homs. At a distance, it looks beautiful. But up close, you see the gruesome devastation of war, and the fundamental reason why so many Syrians have been forced to flee their homes. The piece is by the Vietnamese-American artist Tiffany Chung and belongs to Louisiana Museum of Modern Art in Denmark.

Texting Syria

Portraits showing Syrian refugees in Lebanon, who are keeping in touch with their families back home via text messages. The messages that were sent when the photos were taken will pop up on visitors’ own mobile phones, courtesy of interactive developer Daniel Arce. This brings the audience closer to the refugees, their fears and worries. Photographer Liam Maloney was recently nominated for the Tim Hetherington Visionary Award for 2016.

textingPhoto: Liam Maloney

Syria is my only home

Child refugees from Syria talk about life in the shadow of war. In short documentaries, they talk about life in the refugee camp in Lebanon, how much they miss their homeland and their dreams of one day returning home. The images in the exhibition have been taken with disposable cameras by the children themselves. The exhibition has been created in collaboration with Unicef and the organisation Zakira, and has previously been shown on the upper floor at the Nobel Peace Center.

Listen to artists Natalie Naccache, Omar Imam and Liam Maloney i an artist talk with director of exhibitions, Liv Astrid Sverdrup.