Roots - Greenland

Somehow between XV-XVIII Greenland became a Danish colony. The Inuits were the only people who inhabited the island for several hundred years before colonization took place. Unto this day, the effects of imposing one culture on another are very visible and perceptible. The position of “having” Greenland made Denmark a country with wider perspective and bigger possibilieties. The current psychological and social problems in Greenland have their roots in that. Imposing a new faith, a new language, a way of thinking, speaking, prohibitions of living in small places. Forced resettlement of the inhabitants of villages to social blocks in larger towns have a huge impact on them and for the rest detached them from they traditions.

 

Cultural patterns and physical environments surrounding human beings seem to determine who we are and how we understand the world around us. Emigration to another society based on a distinct set of cultural rules sensitized Wojtanowicz to notice sources of disparity in perceiving the world.

 

Through the personal perspective of a temporal stranger, this work simultaneously explores interplay and disconnection between the Greenlandic people and their original ancestry.

 

The wave of Danish influence appears to further separate modern Greenlandic society from their roots and leaves these indigenous people with an inner division between known and unknown. Danish influence brought both opportunities and disadvantages. This poses a question: what does it mean to be an Inuit? What does it mean to belong to a defined social group?

 

Through a visual process combining active observation, historical background, intuitive sensitivity and empathy, this story became multi-layered, echoing the complexity within the Paamiut community that faces many challenges. 

 

Physical objects on the photographs represent a dichotomy between the obvious material world and the invisible representation of symbols and emotions concerning identity.

 © Dagmara Wojtanowicz

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