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“Ice has a Memory”: Greenland’s Vanishing Song Lines. Persons Projects.
2. Juli 2022 - 3. September 2022
What began as an adventure for a 27 year old woman traveling alone, grew to become a photographic historiography of the direct effects of global warming. Itkonen’s travels brought her back periodically to the same place for the past three decades. Her photographs record not only the environmental changes to that whole region of the world, but also how it impacts the human factor, both sociologically and emotionally. Her work systematically documents how climate change has altered a traditional way of living from a hunting society into a new uncertain reality. As the sea ice disappears, so do the indigenous peoples whose monetary incomes are derived from its natural bounties. Itkonen’s images are filled with a knowledge that can only be attained through decades of earning the local trust of its people. The children she so innocently captured on film in 1995 are now the leaders of the community. Their story has many chapters and Itkonen’s photographs help bind them into a rich but tragic history, where their way of life is slowly being forgotten. A good example of this is Itkonen’s austere rendering of these small wooden framed homes over a thirty year period. These once brightly colored houses are now gradually fading with the climate change, turning into grey abandoned remnants of what they once were, as their inhabitants move into towns to find employment. Her intimate photographs of this tiny but proud community, unfold a storyline that’s filled with love and loss, hope and tragedy, but no ending.
Currently, Itkonen is collaborating with the American Piniartoq project in Greenland, to monitor and record global warming in their efforts to understand and preserve the beauty of this fragile yet disappearing environment.