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Genève, sa gueule

Since March 2014, the “Genève, sa gueule” project, implemented by the Agenda 21 – Sustainable City department, has documented the diversity of Geneva’s inhabitants, drawing a “portrait of the city”.

Série de photographies issues de l'exposition "Genève sa gueule"

The description of a population such as that of Geneva is very often limited to a few statistical categories such as nationality, sex, religion and sometimes simply being a foreigner or not… This gives the impression that the city’s inhabitants can be divided into a few homogeneous groups juxtaposed within a single territory. Naturally, this is a highly simplistic vision of Geneva’s population, offering only a very partial view. The categories hide the human beings whose experiences cannot simply be summarised by so many figures or qualifying factors. Every life is singular, unique. It is impossible to divine a life based on a name, a nationality or a physical appearance.

Objectives of the project

The aim of the “Genève, sa gueule” project is to acknowledge this reality and to make it more visible. To this end, the City of Geneva’s Agenda 21 - Sustainable city department organises photo sessions and the collection of life stories offering a more in-depth vision of the city’s inhabitants. Since the beginning of the project, fifteen photo shoots have been organised. Altogether, almost 1,500 portraits and biographies have been collected. The result paints a picture of Geneva’s population which is much richer than the few clichés by which it is generally described.

Photo shoots

The photo shoots already organised and those still to come are presented on the  “Genève, sa gueule” website which also includes photographic and biographical material as well as video footage taken during the different events. It also provides an opportunity to discover and play with the numerous tales, paths and feelings of belonging of Geneva’s inhabitants.

In addition to the desire to paint a picture of the city’s inhabitants, the “Genève, sa gueule” project also gives the City of Geneva the chance to acknowledge the diversity of its population. At the same time, it offers the inhabitants the opportunity to assert their membership of a group which shares the same living environment: regardless of their origins, nationalities, religions and languages spoken, the inhabitants of the city share a sense of belonging to Geneva. This acknowledgement takes shape not only in the organisation of photo shoots but also through poster campaigns and exhibitions.

The “Genève, sa gueule” poster campaign

Some 300 portraits taken in 2015 were displayed on public billboards in 2016. The operation was renewed in October 2017.

On the “Equality and diversity in the city” Facebook page, it is possible to publish photos of billboards with one of the “Genève, sa gueule” portraits. In this way, for example, the inhabitants can take a selfie next to a giant portrait of themselves or that of a friend and share their photo on the social networks. The hashtag #GeneveSaGueule is a simple means of collecting all online references to the project.

The “Genève, sa gueule” exhibition

All 839 portraits taken as part of the “Genève, sa gueule” project in 2014 and 2015 went on show at the Forum Faubourg in March 2016. The photos taken since 2016 formed the centrepiece of an exhibition organised at the Musée Rath from 14 to 29 October 2017.


Service Agenda 21 - Ville durable - Diversité

Idil Abdulle

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Article modifié le 02.06.2023 à 08:40