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“Cool landscapes” by Silvia Pärmann
Out-door Gallery’s exhibition brings the far North to the Telliskivi Creative City
The polar day will arrive at the Telliskivi Creative City in the darkest period of the year – Loomelinnaku Out-door Gallery will open on November 6 at 6 p.m. Silvia Pärmann’s photo exhibition “Cool Landscapes.” The exhibited photos are taken farther north than Siberia, Alaska and most of Greenland – in mining towns Barentsburg and Longyearbyen. The exhibition document everyday life in Longyearbyen, Norway, with about 2000 inhabitants, and Barentsburg, a Russian mining town with 450 inhabitants and reflect the daily life of the Spitzbergen archipelago, where the glaciers cover more than half of the landscape between 76 and 81 N and 10 and 35 E. Fjords, snow, powerful mountains, polar bears and mines build the atmosphere in the Norwegian Svalbard archipelago. Or would you rather say – did?
Since 1971 the average air temperature in Svalbard has risen by 7°C. This has led to dramatic changes mostly for the local ecosystem. Although the vast majority of coal mines in Svalbard have now closed – only one of Norway’s mines is active, as well as Russia’s last operating mining town Barentsburg – the argument for closure is low profitability and the depletion of coal reserves, not environmental concerns.
“Of course, warming of the Arctic is not caused only due to local anthropogenic effects – the local human activity is only a small drop in the ocean in this pool of causes. But being daily in the environment makes it more difficult to ignore the change. For example, for the past 150 years, homes have been built on houses that stand on the foundation posts forced into the permafrost where the wood can remain stable for millennia. But now melting permafrost is threatening homes that stand on rotting grounds. The threat does not only come from the ground; the substantial threat is also the avalanches caused by global warming, which have already killed people and destroyed homes, ”said Silvia Pärmann.
It is easy to fly away from the damage and inconvenient consequences. Leave the empty mines in the snowy fields and leave as if nothing ever happened. But polar bears and reindeer, who have lived there thousands of years before human arrival, are in danger because their access to food is much more difficult in a changing climate.
Silvia Pärmann is an Estonian photographer whose work points to the problems that have been overlooked but cannot be avoided anymore. Silvia’s work focuses on the relationship and conflicts between human and the surrounding environment e.g. the situation in unrecognised countries or the ecological footprint of man on the planet.
The exhibition will remain open until January 25, 2020.