POLAR

POLAR

Naoki ISHIKAWA

Publisher: Little More

"The Arctic is the name given to the vast area north of the circle of latitude which runs 66° 33' and straddles Alaska, Canada, Greenland Sibera and Scandinavia. The region was long ago partitioned by naitonal borders, but even today similarities can be noted between the people living there, from methods of hunting and fishin, dressing game and preserving meat, to rituals and stories handed down over generations.

The indigenous inhabitants of the Arctic, in spite of having the means to form independent nations, still remail within the existing borders, and currently barely manage to preserve their unique culture while being faced with various influences. There, in a place which possesses no defined centre, with groups spread out over a number of areas, we have the antithesis of the Western European idea of strict divisions, andn the existence of what I think can be called an Arctic Network.

I wondered if perhaps this vast interconnection of lands within the Arctic Circle, not seen by the naked eye, could be revealed through the simple medium of photographs. I have kept this idea in mind from when I first visited Alaska in 1997, and during the ten years or so during which I have made intermittent trips to the Arctic. In recent years, not only has the passing on of traditional culture and knowledge been threatened by environmental changes stemming from global warming, but we are starting to see the appearance of Arctic communities where the traditional lifestyle is becomming endangered. Places featured in this book like Shishmaref and Ilulissat are facing the full impact of these influences.

The map of the world that we are familiar with is one we perceive as an oblong viewed from the side but if you view the globe from directly above, with teh North Pole in the centre, you will see the world as a circle. If you turn your eyes to face north the intricately intertwined lines of the map will emerge and you will see the Arctic as a place which lies beyond national borders and is home to groups spread out over a number of areas. Remote regions are found only in our minds, and in reality they do not exist. What exists is a network of Arctic communities tied together by the spirit of the Far North."

  • Excerpt from artist statement _'To the Heart of the Arctic' _published in POLAR (2007).
Keywords: Nature Documentary

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