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 Admission with Museum Card

Gertrude Bell & Meeri Koutaniemi: Hidden freedom

VB photographic center

  • 16.6.2020–27.9.2020

In the summer of 2020 these two world travelers meet in a unique way at the VB Photographic Centre’s Hidden Freedom exhibition.


The British Gertrude Bell (1868-1926) has remained in history as a brave explorer, archeologist, writer and an influencer who enjoyed being close to the high cultures of the middle-east in the beginning of the 1800th century. Bell rode the rugged deserts but was also well known in the courts of the emperors of Turkey, Syria as well as Irak and Egypt and Asia and Indonesia.

Gertrude lived a colourful and tragic life. She was known to be a hard working documentarist who captured in her thousands of photographs the life, culture and nature of the East parts of the world. Bell’s extensive archive are stored in the university of Newcastle. Bell´s life was brought back to the spotlight when the movie Queen of the Desert starred by Nicole Kidman (2015) and the documentary Letters from Baghdad (2016) was released.

A hundred years later after Gertrude Bell, Finland´s internationally best known photographer, Meeri Koutaniemi (b.1987) continues this documentary work from different parts of the world where a woman photographer working as solo is still rare. Koutaniemi has documented the struggle of the daily life of people and the life of women living in the middle of conflict areas in over 50 countries.

In the summer of 2020 these two world travelers meet in a unique way at the VB Photographic Centre’s Hidden Freedom exhibition. Koutaniemi will curate the exhibition from Bel’ls archive and her own photographs.

The photographs of Bell and Koutaniemi will take the viewer to Irak, India, Indonesia, Jordania, Lebanon, Egypt, Palestine and Myanmar in different eras. Big part of the exhibition are the letters back home for the loved ones and diary scripts that bring the thoughts and experiences of the photographers in an intimate way. The exhibition, Hidden Freedom is on display for the first time at the VB Photographic Centre in Kuopio, Finland.

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Museum contact details

VB photographic center
Kuninkaankatu 14-16, 70100, Kuopio

(0)44 744 6424

Museum website

Admission fees

Admission with Museum Card
Admission with Museum Card

8/6/0 €

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