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Art in a Cold Climate: Mette Moestrup on Pia Arke's Camera Obscura

Mette Moestrup praises the way Pia Arke's Camera Obscura explores the post-colonial relationship between Denmark and Greenland.

Danish writer Mette Moestrup praises the way artist Pia Arke explored the difficult relationship between Denmark and Greenland, its former colony.

Arke was the child of a Danish father and a Greenlandic mother. "My pictoral work deals almost exclusively with the silence that surrounds the bonds between Greenland and Denmark," she wrote. "I was myself born into that silence."

One of Arke's projects involved the construction of a giant Camera Obscura on the site of her long demolished childhood home at Cape Nuugaarsuk in Greenland. The camera looked like "a big ice-cube among the barren mountains", says Moestrup. The artist was able to sit inside the camera as she took landscape and portrait shots.
"Here," says Moestrup, "she created beautiful, haunting, hazy photographs of the bare rocky formations, the water and the ice. A lost home, and a lost view recreated via the nomadic camera house."

This edition of The Essay is one of a series in which five writers each consider the significance of a work of art to their nation, as part of Radio 3's Northern Lights season.

Producer: Andy Denwood.

Available now

15 minutes

Image courtesy Soren Arke


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