VERSIONE IN ITALIANO/ITALIAN VERSION (click here)
“If the populations of mainland Canada, Denmark or the United States had suicide rates comparable to those of their Inuit populations, national emergencies would be declared.”
- Upaluk Poppel, Inuit Circumpolar Youth Council -
In Greenland one doesn't live, at best one survives - both physically and psychologically.
The subject I deal with is the complex and little known juvenile situation in one of the most isolated parts of the world that leads to great distress in the community and to the highest juvenile suicide rate in the world.
As I heard my friend Elvira say, "I try to have fun but sometimes I cannot smile", I started to sense the subtle and intimate war many young people in Greenland wage against violence, boredom and emptiness. A struggle that has always been the “raison d’etre” of young generations, the difference being that in east Greenland many of them lose that battle.
In east Greenland twenty percent of youths aged between 15 and 25 try to end their lives every year. Two percent of them succeed.
If we were to bring this data to a Western city of 300.000 people that would mean that around 1.200 youths would commit suicide every year in that city, four suicides a day.
Suicide in Greenland is experienced differently from the rest of the world. It’s not perceived of as the ultimate desperate act of a single person; suicide is considered an exit strategy that’s deeply ingrained in the local culture. Children grow up and assimilate it. Suicide is the ancient manner of solving problems, handed down from generation to generation.
Since 2009 I have been filming and photographing in east Greenland trying to capture the social, cultural and environmental landscape of this region and its community – a community that is lacking support from the local government and the police to face a problem that has been denied by officials for decades.
This is a community I have created strong bonds with. The story I am telling is not about strangers but a story about friends.
I often ponder about life and death.Greenland is the place for me for my own reflection about life and death, black and white. There I am faced with an extreme environment that seems to provoke the most extreme act a human being could ever commit, taking his/her own life.
With this long-term project I'd like to bring awareness to this “hidden” problem, casting a light on a sad and appalling situation that could undermine the future and social development of a whole generation.
My body of work takes a different perspective on the 3.000 Inuits communities of Tasiilaq and the 6 other villages that make up the east coast population of Greenland. This community had to fast-forward to modernity in just 50 years.
The book is only the second part of a bigger self-funded project I started in 2009.
It's a comprehensive project composed of:
1. A short documentary (finished in June 2011)
2. A photographic book (estimated Apr 2013)
3. A feature long documentary (estimated Jun 2013)
Your pledge will help to fund the first edition of my "Arctic Spleen" book, in a print run of 1,000 copies.I have already poured a lot of work into this book, and we are now very close to seeing it published!
This is where I need your help: By contributing to the project and preordering a first copy, spreading the word, or both, you can help the book see the light of day.
I would like to express my deepest gratitude for any participation and support of this project!
Piergiorgio Buy Access