CATTEDRALE EX MACELLO
VIA CORNARO 1
TUE TO SUN 10.00 a.m. – 7.00 p.m.
“A FLARE IN THE POLAR NIGHT”
It is not every day that people get to see a priestess strap on a rifle after celebrating mass. Nevertheless, this does not come as a surprise for the people of Longyearbyen the northernmost inhabited center in the world, in the Svalbard archipelago. A wild and inhospitable land, covered for the most part by ice and condemned, from mid-October to mid- February, to perpetual darkness where polar bears live in the wild and become a danger for humans.
Walking in deep snow, with ski goggles pulled down over her eyes to protect them from the gusts of wind, Siv Limstrand, priestess of the Longyearbyen church, and first woman to hold this position in the far-flung churches 100-year history, has to think about pressing problems. Her arrival in Svalbard in 2019 coincides with a hectic time of change for the isolated parish. In two years, the last coal mine still operating today in Longyearbyen will close to reduce CO2 emissions, ending a long history of mining in Norway and forcing the community to reinvent itself.
Exacerbating the climate of uncertainty in the archipelago is the great disquiet caused by climate change, which in the Arctic latitudes is proceeding twice as fast as in the temperate latitudes. Opened around the clock, every day of the week, the church offers spiritual hospitality to everyone, regardless of religious denomination. Forty different nationalities and some followers of non-Christian religions attend the church in search of a moment of meditation or simply human warmth, a particularly precious commodity in this freezing land. Siv Limstrand improvises herself as a psychologist helping people through existential crises, which the current climate of uncertainty hovering over the archipelago’s future contributes to making deeper. People decide to move to this faraway heath to escape their inner monsters—forgetting that the most uncomfortable truths come to the surface more potent than ever in front of these endless expanses of ice.
ABOUT GUIA BESANA
Self-taught photographer she currently lives in Barcelona and is a member of Agence VU in Paris, France.
With particular attention to women’s issues, her work is intertwined with social themes and personal experiences and plays around the boundaries of fiction and non-fiction, creating settings and bringing her vision into Fine-Art, portraits and commercial photography.
She first gained recognition with her work Inside
Teheran, with which she was a finalist for the Leica Oskar Barnack in 2004 with a slideshow in the arena in Recontres d’Arles. In 2005 she became a member of Anzenberger Agency and joined the gallery in 2013.
Her Fine-Art work is represented by VisionQuesT4rosso contemporary gallery, Italy, since 2019.
In 2018 Guia Besana is selected as a Lens Culture 35 Photographers to Watch, and in 2019 she wins the Julia Margaret Cameron Award and the AI-AP35 Book selection. Guia Besana has won awards both for her fiction and non- fiction work and is regularly featured in international press and fairs: Los Angeles LADCA, MIFA, MarieClaire International Award, AI-AP, PWP Professional Women Photographers, Prix Leica Oskar Barnack, Amilcare Ponchielli Grin, Charlotte/The Light Factory (USA) – Buenos Aires/Festival De La Luz (Argentina) – Turin/ The Phair, Cortona /Cortona On The Move (ITALY) – Barcelona/ Biennale (Spain). The New York Times, CNN, Le Monde, Huffington Post, Marie Claire, Vanity Fair, Courrier-International, D di Repubblica, Esquire.
Canon Ambassador since 2016.