Tiina Itkonen (b. 1968) lives and works in Helsinki, Finland. She graduated from Turku School of Art and Communication in 1995 and with a MA from the University of Art and Design in Helsinki in 2002. Since 1995, Itkonen has travelled regularly to Greenland to photograph the polar landscape and its people. She has travelled more than 1 500 kilometers along the west coast of Greenland by dogsled, fishing scow, sailboat, helicopter, small plane, cargo ship and oil tanker and along the way spending time in small villages and coming to know the Greenlandic people.
In 2015, Itknonen began and on-going series that documents the impact of climate change on polar bears and the local Inuit communities of East and Northwest Greenland. Piniartoq means "hunter" in Greenlandic. These images of hunters and their habitats were produced as part of a multi-disciplinary project to document the traditional life of Arctic hunters produced alongside the research work of polar scientist Dr. Kristin Laidre and science writer Susan McGrath.
Inuit are no longer so numerous to roam these immense wilderness areas. But they're still there. Historically, the Inuit were a nomadic hunting people. Today, most have become sedentary. The Inuit of East and Northwest Greenland derive their income from the sea by fishing or hunting marine mammals. The sea ice is getting thinner every year and fishing and hunting on the sea ice is becoming more difficult. Many hunters and fishermen are no longer able to maintain their traditional way of life. They are forced to leave their homes with their families and move to the city to look for other work. As a result, more and more houses in the settlements are being abandoned.
Tiina Itkonen´s work has been exhibited at international venues including the 54th Venice Biennale; 17th Biennale of Sydney; Albert Kahn Musée, Paris; Anchorage Museum, Alaska, Danish National Museum of Photography, Copenhagen; Kunstmuseum Wolfsburg and Ludwig Museum, Koblenz. Itkonen's first book, Inughuit, a selection of photographs of the lives of Inughuit, the world's northernmost people, was published in 2004. Her second book Avannaa, about Greenland´s landscapes, was published in 2014, by Kehrer Verlag. Her work are featured in collections including the Moderna Museet, Sweden; DZ-Bank Collection, Germany; Statoil Collection, Norway; Anchorage Museum, Alaska, Helsinki City Art Museum, Finland as well as numerous private collections throughout Europe, USA and Asia.