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Riitta Ikonen Brings Snowflakes to Finland

I have lived for a long period of time in the countries as wide apart as Russia and England – particularly where climate is concerned. In the last couple of years, however, the picture has seemingly changed: English summers became hotter (something that we in Russia are very used to), and the Russian winter seems to be visiting England rather regularly. I observed the tendency earlier this year, and when I went to Birmingham earlier this month my heart was practically freezing both in cold and in glee as I looked at the snow-covered fields and rails (left).

In Russia this has been rather different. We’d usually have lots of snow, but last year, when browsing one of Russian social networks, I saw this collage of two photos: they document the precise spot in Moscow city centre in the month of January in 2006 and 2007. The inscription on the photo asks you to find ’10 differences’, which is easy, and the tendency continues this year. Unfortunately, I do not know the name of the photographer. The point, though, is that whilst here in England the winter is getting colder and whiter, Russia seems to have imported not only such traditional and long-standing British retailers as Marks&Spencer, Boots, and The Body Shop, but also the ‘typical’ English weather in the guise of rain.

Finland has been experiencing the same kind of problem, but one person there has stood firmly against the climate change. Riitta Ikonen, one of Beck’s Canvas 2008 artists, introduced the Snowflake project in December 2007 – by then Finland has not had snow for two years for Christmas. This prompted Riitta to start “an ongoing site-specific project looking at the effects of global warming“. The photographs are by Anni Koponen and more can be seen on the project’s page. On the right is Riitta at Beck’s Canvas (photographed by me) with two supporters dressed in costumes created by Riitta for Bird and Leaf project. Below is the artist’s Beck’s Canvas interview.


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