THE FOREST THAT UNITES
Center For Art And Culture in Chicoutimi, Quebec
Chiqoutimi lies, like Stockholm, in the taiga boreal forest zone, which stretches along the entire northern polar circle from Japan and East Russia, across Scandinavia and Scotland to Canada’s west coast. Fir trees dominate the forest, which is relatively species-poor.
It is not hard to see that this has affected the development of both countries and the paths we have both taken during history. The industrialisation of both of our countries was reliant, for example, upon exploitation of the forest and the colonial oppression of indigenous peoples.
In the forest exists both the mythical and the political, the dangerous but beautiful, the ecological and the economic. Embedded in the forest is also the contrast to the city which becomes clearer, the more the gap between city and the rural widens, between what is perceived as the center and what is seen as periphery.
Even how the countries are perceived politically are, in any case, on the surface, similar. They are both seen as liberal, stable and hospitable with well-developed welfare and strong faith in equality and social justice. Beneath the surface, however, there are conflicts with indigenous peoples concerning land and historical oppression, and a long underground smouldering, but increasingly open, flaming racism.