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Tiina Itkonen: Qeqertarsuaq, 2019

A photographic exhibition tells about Inuit subsistence hunters, polar bears, and climate change

8.4.2021

The loss of sea ice caused by climate change poses a serious threat to polar bears’ existence. Also the traditional way of life of Greenland’s subsistence hunters is in danger of disappearing. Tiina Itkonen’s photographs in Arktikum Sicence Centre capture an intimate portrait of hunters, their families, communities, and landscape.

In small Inuit settlements in northern and eastern Greenland, hunting seal, walrus, polar bear, and other Arctic animals is still a vital part of life and a main source of food for many households. Subsistence hunting, if well managed, need not pose a threat to polar bear populations. 

Tiina Itkonen is an artist from Helsinki, Finland who has been documenting Greenland and its inhabitants through her camera since 1995.

– In 2005, a hunter told me about his observations of sea ice in Siorapaluk, the northernmost village in Greenland. He said already then that the sea no longer freezes properly and does not carry people for more than a few months a year. Back in the 1990s, according to the hunter, the sea was frozen from September to June and the ice was up to two meters thick, Itkonen recalls.

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Tiina Itkonen: Anders arriving at Kuummiut, 2017

The traditional Greenlandic hunting culture with sled dogs is in danger of disappearing completely.

– I have traveled a lot in Greenland and lived with the locals in small villages. During the twenty-five years, I have seen the effects of climate change. I hope the exhibition would awaken people to take action in their own lives to combat climate change and protect the Arctic. In twenty years it might be too late, Itkonen says.

Texts of the exhibition are written by Dr. Kristin Laidre who has worked as a scientist in Greenland for 20 years and science journalist Susan McGrath.

The exhibition Piniartoq – Hunter runs at the Arktikum Science Centre 8.4.2021–30.1.2022.


More information:

Artist Tiina Itkonen, mail@tiinaitkonen.com
Homepage www.tiinaitkonen.com 

Exhibition designer Anna Hyvönen, Arctic Centre, firstname.surname@ulapland.fi, +358 40 4844 289