2022 – Exhibitions – “Opowieść o powrotach” (A Tale of Returns) – collective exhibition

The exhibition site – the District Museum in Toruń – The Museum of Travellers

Vernissage – 2 December 2022, at 4:30pm

The exhibition of the photographs of the 19th edition of the Włodzimierz Puchalski International Nature Film Festival.

The authors:

Adam Adamski, Michał Ludwiczak, Łukasz Łukasik, Michał Ogrodowczyk, Magdalena Sarat, Dariusz Sarnowski, Ryszard Sąsiadek, Marek Trzeciak, Radosław Trzciński, Wojciech Wójcik

The motto of the 19th edition of Włodzimierz Puchalski International Nature Film Festival is: “Rebuilding Ecosystems”. The nature photographers who accepted the invitation to co-curate the main exhibition of the festival were asked to provide an authorial commentary on this rebuilding and thus “A Tale of Returns” was created.

At first glance, it seems quite straightforward. After all, unquestionable successes have been reported in this area. We have elks, European bisons, beavers or our “crest” white-tailed eagles – species saved from extinction and restored from almost the last surviving individuals. The measure of these successes is not just the return or the increase in the number of individual species, but also, and perhaps even more importantly, the presence of periodic spectacles of nature. Spring migrations of birds, their flocking sites, courtship display or, the strongest aspect of autumn in the wilderness – deer rutting season, are the signs that it has happened, wildness has returned. It’s wonderful, after all, from all appearances, the thing happens, as it were, on its own. When humans destroy an area and then leave it alone, nature will take it back anyway. It is called ecological succession. There are pioneer species, and when predators appear there even emerges a kind of automatic regulation. However, all this is neither so simple, easy or cheap, nor, unfortunately, does it happen by itself. Indeed, ecosystem restoration has powerful enemies. It is climate change, especially the recent severe water shortage, the ever-present pollution of the environment, invasive species or the struggle with time that will always be marked by failure; nevertheless, by “rebuilding” we always mean returning to a particular state from the past.

The authors of the exhibition invite us to reflect on the successes, failures, as well as the pitfalls we fall into in protecting species and restoring ecosystems. Sometimes it seems that everything is going well – the beavers are returning to places where they have not occurred for many years. It is going even better, because, as it were, they are working at low water retention for us. Suddenly, however, this recurrence is so massive that a conflict with farmers arises, and the good-natured herbivore begins to acquire the status of a pest. Another important issue is the coexistence of man and nature. Renaturalization and biodiversity conservation are not the enemies of civilization, but its achievements. The solution to success is the coexistence of human settlements with natural enclaves. As the Authors of the exhibition rightly point out – in the case of the most valuable natural resources – some rationing and even legal regulation of human presence is also important.

You are welcome to visit the Tony Halik Museum of Travellers in Toruń for a meeting with the Authors of the exhibition and their “tale of returns”.

Marek Trzeciak – curator of the exhibition.

Ryszard Sąsiadek
Marek Trzeciak
Łukasz Łukasik

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