Sumut?

(where are you going?)

The small village of Akunnaq, Greenland, Disko Bay. A sincere and sensitive encounter with inhabitants, a territory and a vision of the world.

The break with the way of life of the ancients, changes in the environment, food and economy: the past is so romanticized and stereotyped that it is even today almost as exotic for Greenlanders as it is for us. Difficulty to identify as Inuit and live at the same time in a modern world.

The traditional way of life has indeed disappeared, but Inuit culture, woven by the social beings who share it, is still very strong. It is the transformation of an indigenous identity, between claiming and adaptation.

Between the confined warmth of indoors and the freezing cold of outdoors; between festive community and solitary hunting; between isolation and internet connection; between sled dogs and snowmobiles, thetwilight is revealing of contrasts.

Project supported by Fujifilm and realized within the framework of the artistic residency Le Manguier, March 2020.

The supply ship arrived this week, after an absence of more than 5 months.

While today's Inuit way of life is not well known abroad, Inuit are very much in tune with current events in the world.

  • The first missionaries arrived in Greenland in the at the beginning of the 18th century to convert the Inuit to Protestantism. Soon after, Greenland became a Danish colony. The Inuit suffered from imported diseases, the new organization of their living environment and the control exercised abroad by the colonials.
  • Denmark sees itself as a "good" colonizer, thus evading the heart of the problem: the question is not the quality of colonialism, but its existence and its consequences. Today, colonization is thus translated in another way, by a paternalism that keeps the Greenlanders in a future that get away from them.

The environment changes particularly quickly in the Arctic. 
On September 15, 2020, the sea ice reached its new minimum: 3.74 million square kilometers.

Greenland derives 95% of its income from fishing, making it extremely unstable from a strictly financial point of view.

The transition period between summer (when the ice-free sea is navigable) and winter (when the pack ice is passable by snowmobile) is difficult for travel, fishing and hunting.

  • In Denmark, racism against Greenlanders is endemic, feeding on ignorance and misperceptions. Only one third of Danish high school students claim to have received an education about Greenland.
  • Here the diet has totally changed since the last century. Previously almost exclusively composed of the products of their hunting, fishing and gathering, it has been replaced by imported Danish food. Diabetes, previously unknown to the Inuit, has exploded and cancers are the leading cause of death.

On the same table as coffee and industrial cakes, a platter of beluga, whale, reindeer, musk ox, cod and salmon.

Disconnection from the way of life and values of the elders, loneliness, isolation, long periods without sun, depression, alcohol... The suicide rate, although lower than the 1990s, is still very high.

The teacher shows a video to the students in the single class. The children have Tic Tok; the adults Facebook.

  • In the village only three inhabitants still own dogs: for the tradition and the passion of this expensive hobby that has become the dog sledding.

Several inhabitants of the village made the way (1/2h of snowmobile then another one by boat) to Assiat to see the race.

  • In the middle of the 20th century, entire villages were moved to establish American military bases, or simply suppressed because they were considered by Denmark to be too costly administratively. The Inuit did not gain the right to self-government until 1979, and Greenland has only been officially a constituent country of Denmark since 2009. Economically, it is still dependent and the Danish government continues to decide on important matters, including foreign policy.
  • Traditionally the seal was the most abundant food for Inuit, and its fur the main item of clothing, in addition to a source of income in a world of increasing need.
 A good hunter had an important status in the community at that time. Today this hunt is subject to quota and export is prohibited.

Rikka and Sulun. Rikka would like to become a hunter fisherman like his father. 
His other passions: rap and soccer.

The traditional costume is worn during the important events of life: confirmation, marriage, religious festivals.